1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fourth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences along with these instructions.
Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
5. State the book title and author.
Being a person who follows directions well (OK, stop laughing y'all!)I spin my 'puter chair around and grab the first book off the top of the stack in the floor (the bookshelves are overflowing and I have books stacked all over the house. No flat surface is left empty, dusty tomes litter every spare inch of surface and I've already read most of them). I open the cover, flip to page #123 and count down four sentences. Here's what I find:
She started to take off her uniform shirt, then stopped.
"I'm too fat."
"You're goddamn right." She always said she was fat. One time I'd told her that she should shut up about it, that large black women wore their fat like mink coats.
From "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" by Z. Z. Packer, a wonderful collection of short stories that tease, tempt and tantalise your emotions. All the stories are written from a growing up Black prospective but one also meets an array of other characters; from African American church ladies, white intellectuals, to inner-city dwellers, but the morals and feelings of these literary gems apply to us all. Well written, these tales don't have the feel of the usual short story but instead are well fleshed and thoroughly enjoyable.
This is my first book by Z. Z. Packer and I'm making it a point to find some more of her works. She's been published in lots of magazines (starting when she was just 19). Her work has appeared in Seventeen, Harper's, The Best American Short Stories (2000), Ploughshares and has been anthologized in 25 and Under: Fiction.