Skip to main content

On Random Passages from My Bookshelf

 I just finished the A-Z blogging challenge— the second time in two years. I wrote 26 stories, more or less in 26 days, well about 26 hours, if I’m to be honest. Being me, I winged through all of it, without any pre-planning.

Time to relax a bit, (and put up the I survived! badge–please pick it up from here if you survived too) I think, and to do that, I have to hit my bookshelf. I have a few books by my bedside and in various nooks of my home, reading-in-progress, so hitting the bookshelf is more or less to play a game– I hit a random book, eyes closed, and read out a passage (and if I’m in the mood, write a story based on it).

I’ll share with you the one I hit today:

The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor.

Do you ever do random things like this with your books? Can you guess what (classic) book this passage is from?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Congratulations on finishing the Challenge! It was so much fun and your posts were awesome. That's a very cool picture of a book shelf.

  • Tina says:

    That's one of my favorite books, ever. Can't count how many times I've read it. There's just something about the way that he makes you understand a character that keeps me coming back. I can actually SEE Daisy Buchanan – and she ain't Mia Farrow. I actually did a post where I recast the entire film. Didn't know they were making another version! They should contact me about casting 😉
    Tina @ Life is Good

  • Southpaw says:

    Actually I do. I like to pick up a random book and read a passage and see how that little tidbit makes me feel. Then I analyze it.

  • I'd never thought of that before but it's a really good idea! I may well try it… Congrats on completing the challenge, BTW…

  • Melissa says:

    Neat idea! I enjoyed this post. 🙂 And if you're that easily inspired, you should come back and post some random flash fiction. I bet you'd be good at it. 😀 Thanks for visiting my blog.

  • And aren't they remaking the movie? It's always a shame when they remake and butcher the classics. Fun game. 🙂

  • Libby says:

    That's a cool game, I've never once thought to play it. Perhaps I shall try it soon. 🙂

  • Damyanti says:

    Susan, you're absolutely right 🙂

    Anna, I do it pretty often, and then if it turns out well, I go back and delete the beginning and try and re-write a new one!

    Donna, I mostly do this with books I have already read. 🙂

  • Donna Hole says:

    I've never done that for story prompts, I'd probably get lost in reading the book and forget to write something 🙂


  • Anna Smith says:

    I like your idea to write a story based on a random passage. I might try that 🙂

  • That's a great thing to do – and well done on finishing the A-Z and thank you for organizing it! I was planning to finish but ended up on "S" 🙁

    I know the book! Won't say the name…but it's being (has been?) made into a film and the author's initials are S.F.!!!