...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

January 28, 2005

The 282+1 Book Meme

Here's a new book meme. Starting at the top left of your first bookcase, count off your books from left to right until you find the twenty-eighth book. Turn to page twenty-eight and copy the first full paragraph you find on that page. What book is it? Have you read it? Did you like it?

Why the number twenty-eight? i don't know; i had to pick a number and today is January 28th. Besides, if you don't have at least twenty-eight books in your home, the books you do own are probably not very interesting anyway.

Here's mine:

Now to invent something touching the more private career of Claggart, something involving Billy Budd, of which something the latter should be wholly ignorant, some romantic incident implying that Claggart's knowledge of the young bluejacket began at some period anterior to catching sight of him on board the sevety-four--all this, not so difficult to do, might avail in a way more or less interesting to account for whatever of enigma may appear to lurk in the case. But in fact there was nothing of the sort. And yet the cause necessarily to be assumed as the sole one assignable is in its very realism as much charged with that prime element of Radcliffian romance, the mysterious, as any that the ingenuity of the author of The Mysteries of Udolpho could devise. For what can more partake of the mysterious than an antipathy spontaneous and profound such as is evoked in certain exceptional mortals by the mere aspect of some other mortal, however harmless he may be, if not called forth by this very harmlessness itself?
What a bunch of gobbledygook! It's from Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Stories by Herman Melville. i have not read it, and after typing that entire paragraph, and remembering just how turgid Melville's writing is, and what an unpleasant experience reading Moby Dick was... well i think it's fair to say i'd rather be smoking Billy Budd than reading it.

Posted by annika, Jan. 28, 2005 |
Rubric: Arts


I graduated with an English B.A., and I took a course where the professor was a Melville scholar. I was required to read Moby Dick (in its painful entirety), Billy Budd, Bartleby the Scrivener.

I cannot imagine a more overrated writer.

Posted by: Mark Hated Melville on Jan. 28, 2005

Thank God! I thought I was just too thick to appreciate Melville. Well maybe thats true anyway, but it still is nice to hear others found this guy vastly overrated.

Moby Dick? A very strange boring book about whaling.

There I said it.

By the way, be sure to share that Budd!

Posted by: Pursuit on Jan. 28, 2005

In the same way, One True pointed out to me, a Cajun hunter still lived on a houseboat in Simmesport, and a bush-hippie hunter was waiting in reserve in a hand-built cabin in Homer.

Posted by: Kelly Setzer on Jan. 28, 2005

The moral is that the resistance to a rich vocabulary is inconsistently exercised. When the talk is of scientific or mechanical things, the public is altogether acquiescent to strange and minutely differentiated terms. Is this what Mr. Burgess is saying? -- that the difficulty in making distinctions in human and social affairs leads people to Tarzan-talk in the classroom? The same people who can talk to the hi-fi people with maximum scientific sophistication? Worth musing, between the holidays.

Buckley: The Right Word

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 29, 2005

From Bertrand Russell's Our Knowledge of the External World (purchased in my philosophy-major college days, when I swear I had every intent to actually read it; edited for length):

Evolutionism, if what has been said is true, is to be regarded as a hasty generalization from certain rather special facts, accompanied by a dogmatic rejection of all attempts at analysis, and inspired by interests which are practical rather than theoretical. In spite, therefore, of its appeal to detailed results in various sciences, it cannot be regarded as any more genuinely scientific than the classical tradition which it has replaced. How philosophy is to be rendered scientific, and what is the true subject-matter of philosophy, I shall try to show first by examples of certain achieved results, and then more generally.... I shall not, however, adopt the method of independent inquiry, starting from what, in a pre-philosophic stage, appear to be facts, and keeping always as close to these initial data as the requirements of consistency will permit.

Posted by: The Law Fairy on Jan. 29, 2005

To become more degraded and slovenly would have been difficult; but Raskolnikov even enjoyed it in his present state of mind. He had decidedly withdrawn from everyone, like a turtle into its shell, and even the face of the maid who had the task of serving him, and who peeked into his room occasionally, drove him to bile and convulsions. This happens with certain monomaniacs when they concentrate too long on some one thing. It was two weeks since his landlady had stopped sending food up to him, but it had not yet occured to him to go and have a talk with her, though he was left without dinner. Nastaya, the landlady's cook and only servant, was glad in a way that the tenant was in such a mood, and stopped tidying and sweeping his room altogether; only once a week, just by accident, she would sometimes take a besom to it. It was she who woke him now.

Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky

Good thing you didn't say 29, it was an English-Spanish dictionary!

Posted by: Pursuit on Jan. 29, 2005

This is the second time I have read something about putting books on shelves, but no one ever seems to answer the question of once you do that, what do you pile in the corner?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin on Jan. 29, 2005


I'm here to help. The answer to your question is......bills!

Posted by: Pursuit on Jan. 29, 2005