A couple weeks ago G Bitch posted a book meme (“My Own Damn Book Meme 2“) and here were the rules:

My Rules:
1. I [g]rab the nearest chosen book.
2. I [o]pen the book to page 123.
3. I [f]ind the fifth sentence.
4. I [p]ost the text of the next 4 sentences on your my blog along with these instructions. Do not post the instructions again.
5. Don’t you dare I dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book on the shelf in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

I rashly posted a comment on her blog, quoting from a fine book I had on a shelf at work. Then I remembered that her blog was all mucked up and [still] would only accept a single comment for each post. Plus, her rules say nothing about me posting on her blog. I felt oafish.

(photo credit: mharrsch)

At home I pulled Don Quixote off the shelf, which I finally read last year, and sentences 6 through 10 of p. 123 are just marvelous! Much better than the excerpt I posted at the GBS. I pulled more books off the shelf, and pretty much every book had great sentences 6 through 10 on p. 123 (I fudged a couple times, but only because I couldn’t bear to clip the sweet edges). So here goes a bunch of great excerpts (in a particular order). I’m not calling it a meme … I could actually care less about memes … it’s an excuse.

At these words Sancho looked at him askance and said in an even louder voice:

‘Has your grace by chance forgotten that I’m not a knight, or do you want me to finish vomiting up whatever guts I have left from last night? You can keep your potion or send it to the devil; just leave me alone.’

And saying this and beginning to drink were all one, but at the first swallow he saw that it was water and did not wish to continue, and he asked Maritornes to bring him wine; she did so very willingly and paid for it with her own money, because it can truly be said of her that though she followed the trade that she did, she bore a remote resemblance to a Christian woman.

Cervantes Saavadra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. (Edith Grossman trans.) New York: HarperCollins, 2003, 123.


Art is produced by a succession of individuals expressing themselves; it is not a question of progress. Progress is merely an enormous pretension on our part. There was no progress for example in Corot over Phidias. And “abstract” or “naturalistic” is merely fashionable form of talking–today. It is no problem: an abstract painting may not look at all “abstract” in 50 years.

Duchamp, Marcel. The Writings of Marcel Duchamp. “The Great Trouble with Art in This Country” New York: De Capo Press, 1973, 123.

(photo credit: Salim Virji)


A shiver passed through me; I hardly dared to walk on. One impression after another seized hold of me. I was swaying, everything was swaying. All the people walking here had plans in mind, business. A moment before, I too had had an end view; but now, no plans at all, but I was searching for one again, and I hoped to find something.

Walser, Robert. Selected Stories. “The Street (1)” (Christopher Middleton trans.) New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982, 123.


There ain’t no malice in it, son, I hope you believe me. The thing is, you got to go to school, son, and get socialized. That’s the news. You’re turnin’ pale, son, I don’t blame you. It’s a terrible thing, but there it is. We’d socialize you here at home, your mother and I, except that we can’t stand to watch it, it’s that dreadful. And your mother and I who love you and always have and always will are a touch sensitive, son. We don’t want to hear your howls and screams. It’s going to be miserable, son, but you won’t hardly feel it. And I know you’ll do well and won’t do anything to make us sad, your mother and I who love you.

Barthelme, Donald. The Dead Father. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975, 123.

(photo credit: grrl8trx)


“Fiddlesticks!” said Arnold’s father. “You call yourself an artist and you don’t even know how to be irresponsible. The beauty of the artist lies in the childlike soul.” He touched Miss Goering’s hand with his own. She could not help thinking of the speech he had made the night he had come into her bedroom and how opposed it had been to everything he was now saying.

Bowles, Jane. The Collected Works of Jane Bowles. “Two Serious Ladies” New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966, 123.


Robert Storr: But in the end, isn’t it the confrontation with the individual form or image that counts most?

Tom Friedman: For me it’s not just a formal game. Or if it is, it’s not dealing so specifically with the physical elements, but instead with the idea. So I think in terms of how they reveal themselves to the viewer. My interest is in how things categorize information, and how one deciphers an object. It revolves around the questions that you ask, and how you process all that information and come to some kind of conclusion. The way that I began thinking about the work, then, was as a direct line of questioning that you go through when you are presented with something unfamiliar and think, ‘Well, what is it? How is it made? Why is it like this?” What’s most specific to me is that process of discovery.

Friedman, Tom. Tom Friedman. (Interview by Robert Storr). London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2001, 123.

(photo credit: Nicole Marti)


A man sat on the sofa, eating breakfast off a TV tray and watching TV. He wore a white undershirt and dark work pants. His salt-and-pepper hair and beard looked flat and dirty. And he was the same color as me; I thought he was white but the only light was the TV so I couldn’t be sure. I guessed he was the Pig.

Johnson, Dedra. Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow. New York: Ig Publishing, 2007, 123.