Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Nearest (Well, Almost) Book

J.D. tagged me, and who am I to say no when he says I'm one of his best friends? Flattery will get you everywhere.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Locate the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences on your blog and in so doing...
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged me.

Well, sir, I am currently (and unfortunately, but we won't go into that) at university and thus have in various parts of this desk-thingmagig (that doesn't have enough room for a chair in its anorexic centre) all the books I had to read from this year's modules. Sadly, that's all, because I don't have the time to read anything I actually want to read, and they're waiting elsewhere for me to ignore this summer when my brain won't be able to take in another printed word without a warning siren going off. Not that all these books are bad, and, in the spirit of Italo Calvino, I'm going to pass over the Books-I-Haven't-Finished (*ignores 'Orlando'*) and the Books-I-Could-Give-A-Crap-About (*throws aside 'The Scarlet Letter'*) and the Books-I-Just-Plain-Hated (*rips apart Walt Whitman*) and pick up one that I absolutely loved. It's the magnum opus of George Eliot, Middlemarch.

But results which depend on human conscience and intelligence work slowly, and now at the end of 1829, most medical practice was still strutting or shambling along the old paths, and there was still scientific work to be done which might have seemed to be a direct sequence of Bichart's. This great seer did not go beyond the consideration of the tissues as ultimate facts in the living organism, marking the limit of anatomical analysis; but it was open to another mind to say, have not these structures some common basis from which they have all started, as your sarsnet, gauze, net, satin and velvet from the raw cocoon? Here would be another light, as of oxy-hydrogen, showing the very grain of things, and revising all former explanations.

I can almost see you readers nodding off. That's hardly representative of why this book's great. This particular passage- not very far through this 688 page book at all- concerns one of the novel's two main characters, the doctor Tertius Lydgate, and some kind of medical ponderation.

How about something more filmic? This is from what my lecturers sold as one of the essential books we'd need; and fittingly enough, I haven't used it once. This is Film Art, by David Bordwell and Kristen Thompson:

Many critics suggest that the 1970s subgenre of family horror films, such as The Exorcist and Poltergeist, reflect social concerns about the breakup of American families. Others suggest that the genre's questioning of normality and traditional categories is in tune with both the post-Vietnam and post-Cold War eras: Viewers may be uncertain of their fundamental beliefs about the world and their place in it. The continuing popularity of the teenage-orientated slasher series during the 1980s and 1990s might cater to young people's fascination with and simultaneous anxieties about sexuality and violence- enhanced by sophisticated special-effects capable of creating gory and grotesque scenes.

How thrilling.

And I tag YOU. Why aren't you doing it yet? Go!

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