Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tag, I'm It

So, AhvaRahn has tagged me. I'm it. I must grab the nearest book, turn to page 123, scan down to the 5th sentence and copy the next three sentences. I usually don't like revealing games, but this one holds a curious fascination for me.

The book I have grabbed is Philip Roth's Everyman. While a slim volume, it does, thankfully, have more than 123 pages. Here goes...

"Leave me alone!"
"Phoebe -- "

Honestly, that is the set of three sentences following the fifth sentence on page 123. What it does quite nicely is demonstrate the fat-free content of Mr. Roth's writing. Three sentences with five words. That's economy.

Just for giggles, I take the three sentences following that. To show that Roth isn't all monosyllabic dialogue:

But these episodes are indeed well known and require no further elaboration. Phoebe threw him out the night after his mother's burial, they were divorced after negotiating a financial settlement, and because he did not know what else to do to make sense of what had happened or how else to appear responsible -- and to rehabilitate himself particularly in Nancy's eyes -- a few months later he married Merete. Since he had broken everything up because of this person half his age, it seemed only logical to go ahead and tidy everything up again by making her his third wife -- never was he clever enough as a married man to fall into adultery or to fall in love with a woman who was not free.

I can't believe what a convenient case this one page makes for the brilliant versatility of Mr. Roth's writing. As lengthy as those last three sentences are -- complete with em dashes -- there is no word that isn't necessary. And they stand in such stark contrast to the first few sentences of dialogue.

Thanks, Paul, for thinking of me and then tagging (even though I hadn't actually gotten to p. 123 yet and therefore feel I've cheated somewhat in "reading ahead"). I'm honored to be grouped with Maria and Pete and look forward to their entries!



At 3:56 AM, Blogger AhvaRahn said...

It seems in these exercises (I confess this is my first, and maybe my last) that there appear little nuggets of relevance: “Leave me alone”. Had I known the rules, I would have popped over to let you know, quick smart; that is what was also stopping me from walking up shyly to the Learjet and gently rapping the window, “eh, Mr. Townshend…”

Recently someone gave me a gift card, a Barnes and Noble gift card, and if there is something this duty does, it gives me the excuse to go over there, to the big comfy chair, and look at these items at arms reach of some of my chums on the world web thing. I don’t know Roth, save for what you have revealed here in mini-review, but it’s inviting and I look forward to having a gander.

Have a nice weekend, and sorry you had to read ahead. I hope pg 123 is not the last page of Everyman. Eh, that would be unfortunate, but possibly exactly the kind of outcome I might elicit when doing this kind of thing.

Take Care,

At 2:53 AM, Blogger E.L. Wisty said...

Ah this tag is turning out to be an excellent method for presenting interesting books to read. Your tag is indeed not an exception.

You are going to Hotel Cafe tonight, aren't you? Have a brilliant time!


At 7:33 AM, Blogger Anne-Marie said...

I guess my tag is now redundant. :)
I always wanted to read Everyman, and couldn't find it in a local bookstore one day when I remembered that I wanted to read it. I think I'll check the library system now. Thanks for the reminder!

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Chris Capp said...

I have a Borders gift card from a work colleague at Christmas and I almost don't want to use it because I enjoy those moments sitting in traffic dreaming about what I might use it for! Something about the anticipation that outweighs the actual use.

Enjoyed your tag, as well. And, YES, I am going to Hotel Cafe tonight to listen to some friends play some music. Can't wait!

Everyman is quite bleak, but extremely well put together. Like so many artists, I think Mr. Roth is stripping things down as he gets older. The library is about the only place I go for new books these days!

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Hey, I wish we could have said hi, we only met briefly in November and it would have been cool to have a brew with you in the bar. Let's definitely meet up the next time. Wasn't it magical?

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Lin-no-da said...

I might have to tag myself...
Hi Chris, just giving a shout out to the cool Left Coasters that I have not yet at a Rachel gig yet, maybe soon

all my best


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Lin-no-da said...

I might have to tag myself...
Hi Chris, just giving a shout out to the cool Left Coasters that I have not yet at a Rachel gig yet, maybe soon

all my best


At 10:56 AM, Blogger Lin-no-da said...

duh, I stammered
sorry for the double...


At 3:50 AM, Blogger AhvaRahn said...

Hey Chris,

Glad to hear you had a good time at the show. Maybe a review will go up here soon? I know, I know, there is the bill-paying job to take care off first, but it seems there was a lot going on that night both on stage and off. I also read that you also had a run in with Mr. 24. With all the broken-computer-systems talk it begs the question, if one has 24 by mistake, why would one want an extra?

Be lucky,

At 8:23 PM, Blogger ginab said...

Yes indeedy on Roth's economy of words even emdashed. Really, my eyes brightened when I saw his image here. I haven't read Everyman and it seems if one doesn't read all of Roth I will end up, truly, illiterate. My friend J Pugh swears upon his prose. Of course, he would like to write as well and yet he does write well.

But I imagine Roth is saying Everyman experiences such whimsical devotions and then financially whimsical deals in the negative. Hasn't found me! ;-)


At 2:06 PM, Blogger colleen m said...

I did this on my live journal blog recently it was quite fun!!!

It was great meeting you at Hotel Cafe this past weekend.

love and light xox

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Cathy with a C said...

Hi, Chris

Read your posting on Ahvarahn's blog with interest. I did not believe Joe's protests on Rachel's blog, but it appears some may have. To be "fair" to 24, when I sold him my extra ticket to the first Hotel Cafe show, he tried to pay me over face value. He offered to pay me whatever I wanted for the ticket and to do favors for me. He told me he could sneak me and my friend into the meet & greet. I told him that we already had M&G tickets and that we didn't want anything special from him. I only wanted face value and he seemed surprised at that. I was uncomfortable with him before and during the show. He is in sales and I can see why he's chosen that profession. Not that all salesmen are like that, but ...

Cathy xox

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Suesjoy said...

hello Chris-
I knew you'd have an intersting book tag (reply?).
I'm glad you had a great time at the Attic Jam.
What was Jack Black and TD like?
I adore JB.
Hope you are well.
take care,

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Metalchick said...

Hi Chris,
I got tagged too! Looks like an interesting book, mine was "The Century" a history book, but a very interesting one since it is about the entire 20th century, along with some point-of-views from the people who lived the history.

So, how are you doing?


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