Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Take a Chance Challenge: A little story behind my Random Word Task

As a part of Jenners' clever Take a Chance Challenge, I had to complete the following task:

Random Word. Go to this random word generator and generate a random word. Find a book with this word in the title. Read the book and write about it.

So I went to the random word generator and came up with the following word:

ASSIGNING

I then went on Amazon.com, typed in "assigning" as my keyword, and came up with 167,480 results. I narrowed my search down to "literature and fiction," which pared things down to a much more manageable 18,191 results.

Here are some of the gems that I came up with in my search:
  • Lawn Tennis Tournaments: The True Method of Assigning Prizes with the Proof of the Fallacy of the Present Method, by Lewis Carroll, 1883, out of print
OK, that book is out of print, so that eliminates that idea. Besides, what the hell is lawn tennis? I soldiered on, this time focusing on some non-fiction titles.
  • Assigning Liability for Superfund Cleanups: An Analysis of Policy Options (Resources for the Future), by Professor Katherine N. Probst
Ummm...no thanks. Let's see what else you've got, my dear Amazon.com.
  • An Account Of The Remedy For The Stone: Lately Published In England, According To An Act Of Parliament, Assigning A Reward Of 5000 Pounds To The Discoverer (1741), by Richard Gem
?!?!?!?!?!
  • Assigning a Value to Transboundary Radiation Exposure: Safety Guides, no author given
OK...I'm starting to get to the point where I may have to choose another random word. Somebody on the Random Word Generator must hate me. But I am not about to let this hatred wash all over me. Let's try one more book, shall we?
  • Extracts from the Projected Penal Code: Containing the Fourth Section of the Thirteenth Chapter, Third Book, Entitled "Of offenses which affect written...and assigning the reasons for adopting them," by Edward Livingston, 1823, out of print
Jenners, you know I love you. I have always been there for you...well, I've been there for you ever since I found your blog. But I just can't read about penal code extracts or staying safe when there's transboundary radiation in the room. I just simply couldn't do a task that suggested such dull material.

Soooo...back to the Random Word Generator I went, and it gave me this word:

CIVILIAN

Ooohhhhhh, greaaaaaaaaaattttttt. Civilian. I'm gonna get some hard bound copies of Supreme Court cases when I search this. Oh, dear Amazonian gods, please don't let me down!

And here's what I came up with: 176,340 results. Among them:
  • War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, by Walter Brian Cisco
Promising, yes, but I intend to have fun on this challenge. I don't want to read anything too serious.
  • The Right of Precedence: Between Physicians and Civilians, Inquired Into (1720), by Jonathan Swift
Ahhhhhh...no. What else do we have?
  • Requiem for a Paper Bag: Celebrities and Civilians Tell Stories of the Best Lost, Tossed, and Found Items from Around the World (A FOUND Anthology), edited by Davy Rothbart, creator of Found Magazine
Well, this looks promising! The title alone certainly makes it worth reading! Let's find out more, shall we?

From School Library Journal
With two national best sellers (Found and Found II), a magazine of the same name and accompanying web site, and a road show across America already in place, Rothbart adds this collection of 67 pieces submitted by writers, musicians, and friends. Rothbart invited contributors—including such well-known figures as comedian Andy Samberg, musician Andrew Bird, and writers Tom Robbins, Susan Orlean, Dave Eggers, and Paulo Coelho—to share their finds or to include a short piece of fiction based on a find. Bich Minh Nguyen (Stealing Buddha's Dinner) found a photograph of her mother, whom she'd never met; Samberg found a ten-dollar bill with an obscenity written on it; Orlean found the idea for a book about orchids. Various selections are fascinating, disturbing, funny, poetic, graphic, personal, illuminating, and combinations of these. Clearly, Rothbart's idea has found a following, and his book is a keeper.—Anthony Pucci, Notre Dame H.S., Elmira, NY

Well, talk about taking a chance! I decided to buy a used copy. I like quirky anthologies, and this one contained pieces by Dave Eggers and Andy Samberg, which, for me, is worth the price of the book alone. That, and the cover art looked awesome, but I'm not using this book for the "judge a book by its cover" portion of the challenge.

The book arrived in my mailbox within two days of ordering it. And I read it, and...

You'll have to read my review tomorrow!!! Hee hee! You think I'm going to post both a behind the scenes story and a review in one night? You're greatly mistaken! And I'm feeling rawther deliciously evil tonight!

Seriously, the review is forthcoming...stay tuned, mes cheries...

4 comments:

JennyMac said...

LOL..I hope you like the book. And glad you went back and found another word. That first list was tough to like.

Shellie said...

LOL.....I read your post this morning and laughed my head off... thanks. This is exactly what would happen to me if I did this challenge....great post.

septembermom said...

Good thing that you went for another word. You made me laugh as I read this post. I wonder what the random word generator will pick for me.

Jenners said...

Bawk bawk bawk!!!

That is me calling you a chicken.

Those titles ... man oh man. Why are we not published authors if these books (which make me want to fall asleep just reading the titles) are published??????

I love this post -- and I love how it led you to this book, which just sounds like a hoot!!!

Fantstic post ... don't say I never gave you anything!