International Book Week wants you
by Sal Robinson
Nobody knows what International Book Week is, but everyone wants to be part of it. Because it‚Äôs so easy to be part of. You don‚Äôt have to go to anything, you don‚Äôt have to donate anything, you don‚Äôt have to recommend or like or click or retweet anything. You just have to do something very simple with something you already have: books.
No, for International Book Week, which is probably an Internet meme — and in fact, in a reflection on the oddness of the Internet, many of the posts about IBW mention that they think it is an Internet meme, and not a ‚Äúreal thing,‚ÄĚ though by this point it‚Äôs at least as real as World Book Night or National Poetry Month — you just do one thing.
Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, and post the fifth sentence. And don‚Äôt reveal the title.
Because I have a lot of books close to me, here‚Äôs a smorgasbord:
‚ÄúSure, Verona‚Äôs brothels weren‚Äôt famous, but, well, all the same.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúTo which Uncle Emmanuel could only answer ‚ÄėAh! Ah—!‚Äô completing with his gestures the unspeakable.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWould it be possible to withstand the constant tremulous throbbing of the running motor and the passenger‚Äôs desultory, soporific chatter in the enveloping fug of the bus?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI have to go straight there, straight from the airport to the sea to meet him.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWhile the crier with the noisemaker went from corner to corner reading the proclamation, the people walked about the streets and swore they would be willing to die for the Protector.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúBut Quangel goes on, not batting an eyelid, ‚ÄúYes, talking and smoking cigarettes in the john, and skipping work, that‚Äôs all you‚Äôre good for, Dollfuss!‚Äô‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs not the Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich meme ‚Ä¶ but I‚Äôll take it.
Sal Robinson is an editor at Melville House, and co-founder of the Bridge Series, a reading series focused on translation.