(Belated) Tribute to International Book Week

Apparently, International Book Week is the third week of September. I’m not sure how I didn’t find out until the end of that week… Anyways, many of you may have seen the International Book Week meme that went around the Internet recently. It goes something like this:

“It’s International Book Week! The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don’t mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your status.”

I did exactly this for a Facebook status towards the end of International Book Week. And then an idea came to me: Why not do a blog entry with several fifth lines from Page 52s from several of my favorite or recently read books? You don’t have to guess any of the book titles, unless you’re compelled to or recognize any of these lines. But I thought it would be interesting to see how different each excerpt could be.



“I wonder what sort of girl she is – whether good or naughty.”

“He was a little bored and lonely among the uninterested tourists, and when he found me a willing listener (surely not the first or last, but currently the only one) he took pleasure in telling me about his people, as we sat with a tall glass of iced ü in the long, soft evenings, in a purple darkness all aglow with the light of the stars, the shining of the sea-waves full of luminous creatures, and the pulsing glimmer of clouds of fireflies up in the fronds of the feather-trees.”

“Do people really pay you to spell things?”

“The butcher would buy my rabbits but not squirrels.”

“You will remind me that woman must be still as the axis of a wheel in the midst of her activities; that she must be the pioneer in achieving that stillness, not only for her own salvation, but for the salvation of family life, of society, perhaps even of our civilization.”

“How those lines sing!”

“I stood on the place, bracing myself against the waves, so that I would not have to look for it again.”

“Peaceful Sunday would come in-between when she would think long thoughts about the nasturtiums in the brown bowl and the way the horse had looked being washed while standing in sunshine and shadow.”

“Vary the construction of your sentences.”

“Then I heard Bilbo’s strange story of how he had ‘won’ it, and I could not believe it.”

“My mother is from Ardea.”

“All my siblings, myself included, had some sort of color confusion at one time or another, but Richie dealt with his in a unique way.”

“Well, when I took my sheep through the fields, some of them might have died if we had come upon a snake.”

“Then be off with you.”

“Would he be married, with a family?”

“‘Harry, your eyesight really is awful,’ said Hermoine, as she put on glasses.”

“On top of the engine, I place my face in my dirty hands.”

“They are composed like music.”

“He was, and is yet most likely, the wearisomest self-righteous Pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the promises to himself and fling the curses to his neighbours.”

“‘I have a very good idea who I am speaking to!’ Merit replied, rage shaking her small, fierce body.”

“‘It’s Christmas Eve,’ she said, as if that explained everything.”

“But I said that it wasn’t a proper book because it didn’t have a proper ending because I never found out who killed Wellington so the murderer was still At Large.”

“‘The earth has a mouth?’ Buckley asked.”

“This is, admittedly, an odd venture for anyone not involved in a witness-protection program: to leave home and companionship and plop down nearly two thousand miles away in a place where I know almost no one and about which I am ignorant right down to the most elementary data on geography, weather, and good places to eat.”

“So when are you going to talk to me again?”

“It was an attractive garden, if one did not dwell on the statue, and an attractive courtyard – but not a peaceful or private one, with the entire court roaming the passageways above.”

“And we got it for nothing.”