I have been asked by Titus to take the book nearest to me, turn to page 161 and cite the 5th complete sentence. The book nearest to me is Nick Laird’s On Purpose which is a very slim book of poems that only goes up to page 65.
The next nearest is difficult to determine as I have a small shelf just above my desk for reference books, supposedly, and there are about four books there which look to be exactly the same distance from me. Whatever book I choose I will have to bend the rules a little: either cite the 5th sentence of the last page of the Nick Laird, or, the stipulated sentence of not quite the nearest* book.
The other thing I could do is choose the book that is nearest to my reading chair. So not the book that was nearest when I read Titus’s request which was there, between my keyboard and my monitor, because it only just arrived in the post and that is where I unwrapped it, but the one nearest to where I actually sit and read. But that itself poses a problem.
The chair sits between this:
I am a bit of a dipper when it comes to reading and so am currently flitting between most of these books. Not The English Passengers, it being a novel I am waiting for a quiet, undisturbed stretch of time, to give myself up to it. As I haven’t read this it’s quite tempting to choose it and get to know one sentence, but that could ruin the story. I’ll unwittingly fill in the gaps and then it won’t live up to expectations. I'm sure it's much better than my imaginings could ever be, but that won't stop me anticipating what I know happens, and thus not pay proper attention to what does happen. I've spoilt many a good book in this way, and had umpteen spoilt by reviews too. Best not do that then.
Titus did say she chose me (as one of her five people to pass the baton on to) because she needs more Nietzsche, and, as luck would have it, there is a book about Nietzsche in the running: Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature. This is the only secondary text on Nietzsche that I’ve managed to get all the way through, it’s a really good read: well argued and not even remotely pompous. It lives just above my head – literally and metaphorically.
Here is the 5th sentence of page 161:
The narrative that relates [the past] to the present is altered, and even the accidents in our past can be turned into actions, into events for which we are willing to accept responsibility (“Thus I willed it”), and which we are therefore willing to repeat.
I should pass this on to five others now, but everyone else seems to have already been nominated, so I'll squish that rule a little too and say: if there is anyone out there who hasn't been tagged and would like to do this (it's an easy post after all), here is your cue.
*I've just reread the rules and they don't say 'nearest' but 'most handy' which could have made for a completely different post: most handy as in most 'to hand', ie nearest, or most handy as in most useful, and if the latter for what aspect of life? Thank goodness I misremembered because I'd have tortured you with this one.