Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bookshelf Paragraph Generator

I suppose I am not the first person ever to write, although if the entire outside world is a figment of my imagination, then maybe.  In this spirit, I would like to introduce a new segment: bookshelf paragraph generator.

In this segment, I will ask you to share a paragraph based on a random, still to be determined formula, coming from the books on the shelves in your residence.  If you don't have books, use the ingredient labels from items in your pantry.  If you don't have books or food, use numbers from the train cars you're hopping.  I don't know, these aren't strict rules, figure it out hobo.

I own books, and I like to share them.  But the problem with a book club is that the author/reader relationship should be so vague and intimate that you shouldn't be able to describe it, at least if the author is doing his or her job and the reader his or hers.

Anyhow, let's play the game.  Here are the rules:

1) Choose your favorite bookshelf.
2) Count five books from the right and add the number of times this week you've thought "I am God" or "I am the Devil" or "I am both God and the Devil" or "I am neither God nor the Devil" or "These potatoes are good."  This is your book.
3) Turn to the page that you estimate your IQ to be.  If you know your IQ, it's probably above 80.  What a useless metric to determine likeability, though.
4) Share the third paragraph in the comments.  And the book and the title if you like.
5) If it doesn't work, choose another favorite shelf, but no cheating on the rest (1-2 estimated IQ points I think is a fair adjustment, unless it causes you to poop yourself).

Here's mine:

From One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

"Hey, you guys, hey!"  He started badgering the men bringing the bricks and mortar.  "Can't you get these bricks over here?"


I dunno if this will work.  Worth a try.        


Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

I think I got a little bit smarter doing this, so I picked a paragraph from a higher page than my original i.q.

From Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter

"Once you're in her bedroom, sir, if you don't know what to do, then I can't help you."

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bookshelf happens to be color coordinated as well. Do I get extra IQ points for that?

"3. PLAY GROWN-UP Have a cocktail party. Make fake liquor using food coloring. For example, use yellow for scotch, green for creme de menthe. Pretend french fries with the tips dipped in ketchup are lit cigarettes. Have the children simulate spousal abuse by arguingand, as this escalates, slapping each other. Use Tic Tacs to spit out of the mouth as if they were teeth. Use red Tic Tacs if you want to pretend they are bloody teeth. If there is an infant in the house, it's always fun to play Social Services. Have one child pretend he is going to take the baby away from another child. The pretend "mother" can fight for custody. You can always substitute a real baby with a fake baby by wrapping something baby-like in a towel. Have a child pretend he is walking in on his wife and catching her having an affair with another person."

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Jackie said...

"Why didn't you tell my Jack to fetch me here sooner, Jim?
"Well, 'twarn't no use to 'sturb you, Huck, tell we could do sumfn but we's all right, now. I ben a-buyin' pots en pans en bittles, as I got a chanst, en a patchin' up de raf',nights, when---"

2:26 PM  
Blogger KoZ said...

"Those were his exact words, you recollect them with a peculiar clarity. And sure, it was just some pseudo-philosophical, nugatory babble, but where had it come from? Even if such a man existed, you had dreamed his speech; thus, the words had had to have come from you. Was there some part of you that entertained ideas such as those? How annoying, if true. And what of the inner you that seems to know so much about Sarah Bernhardt? You vaguely recall your mother once dropping here name. Before your mother dropped all those barbiturates and sank into the Big Snooze-a-roo.

From: Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas
By: Tom Robbins

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so happy an excerpt from a Tom Robbin's book showed up here.

5:17 PM  
Blogger patguy said...

On the back of the hardwood engine case was a painting of a great fire, burning out of control, somewhere out on the Western prairies. And on the front was the company's motto, stenciled in gold paint: "THE NOBLEST MOTIVE IS THE PUBLIC GOOD."

From Paradise Alley by Kevin Baker

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Jett said...

By 'favorite bookshelf' I am assuming you mean the precarious stack on my nightstand.

"Rock thinks this Ali-inspired line is funny as can be. He laughs and laughs and makes a hissing sound between his teeth."

'The Tao of Muhammed Ali' / David Miller

2:23 PM  
Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

Was this a part of International Book Week?

7:56 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

Thanks for playing, everybody.

jorg - I didn't know there was an International Book Week. I must be subconsciously in tune with obscure named weeks. Hopefully next week is International Describe The Smell Of The Stuff In Between Your Toes Week.

6:00 PM  
Blogger D'Arcy Benincosa said...

"My heart unto yours is knit
So that but one heart we can make of it;
Two bosoms interchained with an oath;
So then two bosoms and a single troth."

--Lysander, A Midsummer Night's Dream
(from BARDISMS by Barry Edelstein)

12:52 PM  
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8:44 AM  
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12:23 PM  

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