From Susan. I thought it was cool. I thought, “neat.” I thought about it. Then I did it. I’m dealing with the aftermath of a weird mini-migraine or head thing. Why not?
Here it is:
Take five books off your bookshelf.
1. Book #1 — first sentence
2. Book #2 — last sentence on page fifty
3. Book #3 — second sentence on page one hundred
4. Book #4 — next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
5. Book #5 — final sentence of the book
Make the five sentences into a paragraph:
Believe it or not, I had exactly 5 books with me this week.
Everyone had aways said that John would be a preacher when he grew up, just like his father. He had every piece of equipment he had ever been issued, ever present he’d received from home: helmet, helmet liner, wool cap, scarf, gloves, cotton undershirt, woolen undershirt, woolen shirt, sweater, blouse, jacket, overcoat, cotton underpants, woolen underpatns, woolen trousers, cotton socks, woolen socks, combat boots, gas mask, canteen, mess kit, first-aid kit, trench knife, blanket, shelter-half, rain-coat, bulletproof Bible, a pamphlet entitled “Know your Enemy,” another pamphlet entitled, “Why we Fight,” and another pamphlet of German phrases rendered in English phonetics, which would enable Weary to ask Germans questions such as “Where is your headquarters?” and “How many howitzers have you?” or to tell them, “Surrender. Your situation is hopeless,” and so on. A compelling style itself retards the action by inviting the reader to linger over the words and sentences. How many years would it take for a dwarfed trunk to become like flexed biceps? He gave her a smile too ad he put her there, right next to him, ascendant, with all the blue sky in the universe crowding in behind her.
The books were:
1. Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
2. Slaughter-House-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
3. 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, by Jane Smiley
4. The Sound of the Mountain, by Yasunari Kawabata
5. Talk Talk by T.C. Boyle