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Cornflower book group

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  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.

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Angela Young

Thanks so much for doing this, Cornflower. It seems to me that it only works if the sentences are meaty ... but when I did my MA at Middlesex, they gave us a variation on the page 69 test.

We wannabe writers were asked to consider whether a reader reading page 100 of our books-in-progress would be hooked? And if he or she wasn't hooked (staff judged the page 100s in this case) we had to go back to the drawing board!

The habit has stayed with me and I'll still look at page 100 when I'm in a bookshop.

Margaret Powling

How about this then:

"There is a dead silence, and you know that everyone is waiting for you to speak. You try to think of something to say, but find, to your horror, that your reasoning faculties have left you. It is a moment of despair, and your evil genius, seizing the opportunity, suggests to you some of the most idiotic remarks that it is possible for a human being to perpetrate."

I had to go over the page after the word 'opportunity' to complete the sentence as the book is a small one. Can anyone guess what it is, are we supposed to say what the book is?
Right. I shall tell you:
The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. Yes, truly, this was the nearest book to hand in the study! And it's a very attractive edition by Snow Books (www.snowbooks.com)

 Barbara MacLeod

Well, I'll have a go:

"It is expensive to start beekeeping (over $50 outlay), but Mr Pollard let us have an old hive for nothing, which we painted white and green, and today he brought over the swarm of docile Italian hybrid bees we ordered and installed them. We placed the hive in a sheltered out-of-the-way spot in the orchard – the bees were furious from being in a box. Ted had only put a handkerchief over his head where the hat should go in the bee-mask, and the bees crawled into his hair, and he flew off with a half-a-dozen stings."

The writer is Syvia Plath, 1962 writing about Beekeepers in the 'Virago Book of Women Gardeners', Ed. Deborah Kellaway.

(Refer: Right hand column – Cornflower Bookish Highways and Byways.)

Peter the flautist

"Two tenths of a degree apart, respectively second and fourth magnitudes, they provide a test of minimal vision. In 1650, Mizar acheived fame as the first telescopic double star. A low-power eyepiece reveals a pair of white class A stars 14 seconds of arc apart"

From the truly wonderful book "The hundred greatest stars" by James B Kaler, and if you don't have it them shame on you! On a clear night, do try the test (if you don't remember Mizar it is in Ursa Major).

Anne

I tried this as well.
Andrew looked on in ashtonishment.It was perhaps the only time that he had seen Colin acknowledge his wife in this fashion. Honor however, received the attention calmly;a fact which suggested to Andrew that Colin was actually more affectionate in private life than anyone meeting him with his wife in a public place might be led to suppose.

This is from "On the Side of Angels" by Betty Miller.

Nancy

"Surely Jo March had followed such standards for the 'Blarneystone Banner' and the 'Weekly Volcano,' and if Jo March had done so, had not Louisa Alcott?"
"All three of us mused aloud about that arresting letter, and our musings prompted our host to say to me, 'Really, Miss Stern you should devote all your time to your biography and get it written and published. Why don't you apply for a Guggenheim Fellowship so that you can stop teaching and work on Louisa?'"

From _Old Books, Rare Friends - Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion_, by Leona Rostenberg & Madeleine Stern [nonfiction].

I had to lean over and get a book from the table since the two books nearest to me at the computer didn't go as far as page 123 - _The Uncommon Reader_, by Alan Bennett - & _E.F. Benson Remembered, and the World of Tilling_, by Cynthia & Tony Reavell (this is always on the desk, a great reference book).

Margaret Powling

Since reading Nancy's comment above, I have ordered Old Books, Rare Friends from Amazon ... how could I resist this? I read about this book a long time ago and my memory has been suitably tweaked!

Lee

Oh! Angela Young's Comment about P100 transported me back to my schooldays when we convent girls were suitably shocked by pages 100/101 of our set book "Portrait of the Artist..." by James Joyce -for it is in this section he falls from grace.

Having recalled this I rather cheated and turning up my original Penguin copy see that by page 123 we are in the throes of the damnation sermon

"These devils will afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their reproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint Catherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, rather than look again for one single instant on such a frightful monster, she would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red coals...."

What a rollercoaster of a trip down memory lane!

Lee

Oh! Angela Young's Comment about P100 transported me back to my schooldays when we convent girls were suitably shocked by pages 100/101 of our set book "Portrait of the Artist..." by James Joyce -for it is in this section he falls from grace.

Having recalled this I rather cheated and turning up my original Penguin copy see that by page 123 we are in the throes of the damnation sermon

"These devils will afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their reproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint Catherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, rather than look again for one single instant on such a frightful monster, she would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red coals...."

What a rollercoaster of a trip down memory lane!

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Please note

  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.

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