August 6th, 2006


Book Meme

I haven't done one of these for a while, so here we go, nine questions about books:

1. One book that changed your life?

Coming Through Slaughter, Michael Ondaatje.

I found Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter when I was twenty, and I'd published a few things, but I was (and still am) criminally under read. I always will be, I figure. But at the time I was even moreso, and the things I had seen done in fiction, it was fairly traditional stuff. Then came Ondaatje, and he had this book that was beautiful, passionate, tragic, and filled with just about every kind of prose that I had ever seen. All jammed together into this slim book about a musician that was just achingly beautiful. Made me reassess the whole way I wrote.

2. One book you have read more than once?

I don't re-read so much nowadays. I tend to open a read book, flip to a section I liked, read that, close it, and that's about it for re-reading. There's just so much out there to read that I haven't, you understand, so all the books I have re-read are from my teenage days. Waylander, by the sadly now late David Gemmell, was one of those books. It was all about an assassin seeking redemption, and a bunch of soldiers holding a fort, and dying. I don't know that there's much more to say, really, except that Gemmell knew how to kill a main character.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

The Book of Surviving Desert Islands, obviously. Where's the amazon link?

Actually, I'd maybe take Don Quixote, because I bought the Edith Grossman translation, recently, because it promised me a modern language. I tried the old translation of Don Quixote twice, but I just suffered with it. On a read through the first ten pages, it seems all good, but you know, I reckon being on a desert island would really force me to read it. Or I'd have a lot of toilet paper.

4. One book that made you laugh?

You know, I'm going to go with Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The friendship of the demon and the angel is just great, and I do have a real soft spot for the book. I'd probably goes as far as to say it's my favourite thing that either of them have done.

5. One book that made you cry?

Well. I'm sure this'll be embarrassing. But I cried in Dragons of Spring Dawning when Flint Fireforge died. I was, like, thirteen, but that's no excuse.

6. One book you wish had been written?

You know, isn't that what I'm for?

If people go imagining their own books they want to read, I'm going to find it real difficult to sell shit.

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Lord of the Rings.

Look, I know it's three books (four with The Hobbit, so lets include that (and yes, I know it was originally meant to be one book)) but I've got to say it: I hate those fucking books. I hate Hobbits. I hate how you spend page after page meandering through the woods, and then the moment a big fucking demon appears, it's half a page. Maybe one and a half pages. I hate the way women are represented in it. I hate the way there's a whole kind of servant/lord relationship in Sam and Frodo. I hate how it's written. I sometimes imagine waking up in the morning, and somehow, over night, Lord of the Rings had been banished, shot into space on a rocket, and everyone who learnt to speak elvish with them. I think of this as the Utopia, because of course, there's more than one rocket, and I'm ruling the world. Sometimes I wake up from this daydream, and a week has passed.

8. One book you are currently reading?

I am currently reading Maureen McHugh's collection, Mothers and Other Monsters, and it's really quite superb. (Which reminds me, I haven't done a fifty books challenge thing for a while, have I?)

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I bought a copy of the Mahabharata about nine years ago. The William Buck translation, though truthfully, I've not read any other. Anyhow: I swear to you, one day, I will read it. Or at least try. Once.

Taken from Clare Dudman.
  • Current Music
    Violent Femmes - Color Me Once