‘What’s on Your Page 56?’

One of my friends recently started a thread on Facebook called “What’s on your page 56?” She offered this brief description:

Page 56 Rules:

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with the book and author. Yay.

I was reading Jenny 8. Lee’s “Fortune Cookie Chronicles” at the time, so I opened up to page 56 and wrote down the fifth sentence, which is actually rather disturbing: “The water in Hell’s Canyon in Oregon ran red with blood as more than thirty Chinese gold miners were killed and mutilated by a group of white men who had conspired to steal their gold and force the Chinese out.”

I love the serendipity of this activity. Here is a sampling of just a few of the passages people posted:

  • “‘That boy is not human,’ the wife told the doctor,” from “The Hak’awati” by Rabih Alameddine
  • “We are between just two connection points,” from “Brain Rules” by John Medina
  • “Everybody has nightmares,” from “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller
  • “To get to the truth, Luisa Santiaga told her mother that she would love to stay in Barranca and live there,” from “Living to Tell the Tale” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  • “Virtually every male in America understands something about violence,” from “Guyland” by Michael Kimmel
  • “‘He’s dead,'” from “The True Adventures of The Rolling Stones” by Stanley Booth
  • “We always had something to exchange –books, articles, tapes, boxes of chocolates he received from Switzerland — for chocolates were expensive, especially ones from Switzerland” from “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi
  • “It would just be the corona of her cheeks pulsing to mouth, and my remembrance of her splendid eyes, like sitting in a box the lovely latest in France enters the crashing orchestra and I turn to Monsieur next to me, “She is splendide, non?” with Johnny Walker Scotch in my tuxedo coat pocket,” from “Tristessa” by Jack Kerouac

I don’t know the significance of the number 56, but I nevertheless like this sharing of book passages. It reminds me in some ways of found poetry, which I’ve always found interesting.

What does your page 56 say?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “‘What’s on Your Page 56?’

  1. Oddly enough, I still haven’t read “Catch-22.” It’s on my list! I’m currently reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” Such a good book!

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