book meme

Ooh, I’ve been meme-tagged by Sherry Chandler.

Look up page 123 in the nearest book, look for the fifth sentence, then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on page 123.

Well, the actual closest book is Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Yay. So I’m going to ignore mere physical proximity and pick the first book which caught my eye after reading the meme, because it’s on a bookshelf directly behind the computer: Judith Thurman’s A Life of Colette.

Poverty plays a central role in the fall of Luce, as it did in the lives of so many provincial girls who sold themselves to the rich old lechers of Paris. Poverty also played a central role in Colette’s version of her marriage to Willy, and it’s very wishfully that she provides her heroine with a dowry from her dead mother—a hundred thousand francs prudently invested with the notary in Montigny. It is telling, too, that Claudine is shocked when Luce declares with smug vindictiveness that she would rather see her mother starve than send her any money.

Which is mildly more interesting than Brewer’s definition of ‘blank cartridge’, but not particularly gripping out of context. So let’s cheat even further, and pick another book from the shelf: the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini.

After the necromancer had completed his ceremonies he took off his robes and gathered up a great pile of books that he had brought with him; then we all left the circle, pressing tightly together – especially the boy, who had got in the middle and was clutching the necromancer by his robe and me by the cloak. While we were walking towards our homes in the Banchi, he kept crying out that two of the demons he had seen in the Colosseum were leaping along in front of us, on the roof-tops and along the ground.

The necromancer said that he had often entered magic circles but that he had never before witnessed anything on such a scale, and he tried to persuade me to join him in consecrating a book to the devil.

Good old Benvenuto. I knew he wouldn’t let me down.

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