Though I got it initially from Lime Tree, it originates in its current form from a Live Journal Entry by Elkins who apparently modified it (a much needed modification) from Amy’s Journal which can be traced back to, if not its original incarnation, at least the start of this thread at, Tabouli, where it is part of a larger question and answer meme which is unattributed.

The Game

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

“We pack the physical outline of the person we see with all the notions we have already formed about him, and in the total picture of him which we compose in our minds those notions have certainly the principal place.”

  — Proust, Marcel. Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time. Ed. D. J. Enright. Trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. New York: The Modern Library, 1998.

This is probably the most fascinating little meme I have seen in a while.  I must admit that since I had several books in a stack which were equidistant from my current location I looked at page 23 of each before choosing my “official” response.  Also up for the honor were:

1. “If we scan them, we will find that Hardy mixes iambs and anapests almost equally, as in the poem’s third stanza:

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
     Like an ominous bird a-wing . . .”

  — Timothy Steele, Missing Measures (poem is ‘Neutral Tones’ by Thomas Hardy)

2. “On these terms meter may be costing more than it is worth.”

  — John Crowe Ransom, “Wanted: An Ontological Critic” from The Advocates of Poetry, Ed. R. L. Gwynn

3. “Mother kissed both tear-stained faces and led the twins away.”

  — Mabel Betsy Hill, The Enchanted Playhouse

and finally,

4. “Hashes are often called associative arrays, because a string index is associated with a scalar value.”

  — Martin C. Brown, Perl: The Complete Reference

Don’t ask me what the Perl book was doing mixed in with the others.  My areas of discourse often mix.

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