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You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Hmmm...this is a tricky one. I'd probably go with the poems of Robert Browning. I'm not generally a poetry type of guy. So much of it is either tedious or self-important that I never really learned to enjoy it. Browning is one of the handful that I genuinely enjoy without reservation, including Yeats, Gunn, Owen and Eliot. Eliot is a special case, however, as I largely feel like he's to blame for the utter pretentious mess that modern poetry has become. Yes, it was very clever of Eliot to avoid obvious rhyme and metre, and to write about in-jokes only his poet buddies would understand, but now that every single self-professed poet does the same damn thing, the joke has gotten old.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
The last book you bought is:
Okay, the last books I bought were several books of vintage gay paper-back erotica/porn in Palm Springs. Specifically Other Than a Man, Mountain Man, Faculty Relations and Gay Glory Boys. The last books I bought that I actually intend to read are Robert Rankin's The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, because I really like the idea of an absurdist mystery in Toy Town, and Val McDermid's The Distant Echo, as I've read several of her previous mysteries and they usually make for dependable and eccentric tales.
What are you currently reading?
Nothing, actually. I just finished Tamara Siler Jones' Ghosts in the Snow, a well-meaning attempt to write a forensic detective mystery in a medieval-like fantasy world. Yes, with magic and ghosts and people who can turn invisible and magic swords and all that. It wasn't bad, per se. The writing is much better than in most commercial fantasy novels. But the notion of applying logic and rationality to a fantastic setting, specifically within the context of a mystery, just never quite gelled. Plus there was a strong over-reliance on red herrings and little to no evidence indicating the real killer presented to the reader prior to the revelation of the killer.
I'm probably going to next start in on reading the Robert Rankin book, and maybe keep Richard Meyer's Outlaw Representation, a history of the censorship of gay art in the last century, close to hand as well, as I'm trying to get back into the habit of reading non-fiction.
Plus, I've got three weeks worth of comics and many volumes of manga waiting to be read as well.
Five books you would take to a deserted island.
I'm going to cheat on this one, a bit, because I want to bring something by "the best English language writer of all time" and which of three writers I happen to think that is depends largely on the kind of mood you catch me in when you ask.
Donald Barthelme's postmodern fairy tale Snow White, as it is my favorite novel of all time.
R.W. Chambers' The Yellow Sign, probably my favorite collection of horror stories, and ones that fill me with more existential dread than just about any work in the genre other than House of Leaves (which I probably should go and re-read).
Terry Pratchett's Small Gods, my favorite humorist, and my favorite work of his. Probably also his work which will have the longest shelf-life, as the issues it touches upon are probably the widest reaching, and of all the Discworld novels it's probably the most accessible to a new reader.
Oh, and let's say Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, not only so that I'll be able to develop an analytical frame-work from which to examine each of the other texts I'll be bringing with me, but since postmodernism is always at least partly a pose, I'll need it as a prop to maintain my pomo cred.
And the representatives for best English language writer are:
James Joyce's Ulysses, as it is the only work of his that I haven't actually read.
Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, which is probably the closest American fiction has ever come to matching the talent of Joyce, not to mention his use of language.
And the works of William Shakespeare, particularly the comedies. Not that I feel that they are superior to the tragedies or the histories, it's just that I prefer them to the tragedies and the histories.
Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Well, the people I passed the music meme off to are safe for now, as it feels unfair to toss things like this at them twice in a row.
Rick, mostly because I missed out on passing the buck to him on the music meme.
Ken, mostly just to try to get him to post more frequently, and maybe he will if I give him an excuse.
And Lyle, because I want to know what other gay City of Heroes players are reading.