Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Desert Island Risks

Found this via the always excellent Any Street Corner blog, and apparently it is what is known as a Book Survey Meme. I'm never one to pass up the opportunity to pad out the blog by trying to pass off a survey as a bona fide post, so here goes:
You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
An obvious choice but it would have to be Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. I've read it now at least four times (not counting the times I dip into it), and even dragged myself out to see a stage adaptation, and no matter how many times I've read it I always find something different within its pages. Who wouldn't want to be a novel that can in turn make you laugh out loud and then within a few pages make you stare with awe that such a moving and profound book could have been written at the height of one of the monster regimes of the twentieth century? Bulgakov was right, manuscripts don't burn. People will be reading this novel 100 years from now, and I wish I could read it again for the first time.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Mmm, that is a hard question. At a push, and after racking my brains I would have to say Scully from Alan Bleasdale's book of the same name. I loved that character when I first read the book twenty years ago.
The last book you bought is:
The last book you read:
The Return of Karl Marx by Grey Lynn (Novel published during the Second World War, with an introduction by Herbert Read.)
What are you currently reading?
Rereading both Voltaire's Candide and Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Schweik.
Five books you would take to a deserted island
Don Quioxte by Miguel De Cervantes (Never read it, and I've always meant to.)
The Dance of the Apprentices by Edward Gaitens (A book that I will always reread.)
Collected Short Stories of Grace Paley (Insight, wit and politics packed into stories shorter than it takes me to write a note to the milkman.)
Conspiracy of Hope by Michael Cannon (A neglected gem, and the Amazon review gets it all wrong.)
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (Another obvious choice, but it did strongly affect me on reading it for the first time when I was 15 years old. Despite what some people might say, its strength is that it is in itself a good novel, irrespective of whether or not you agree with its politics.)
Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Stuart at From Despair To Where because he is an even bigger bibliomaniac than myself, and I know that he will be sure to serve up a good list of books, and the reasons why I should read or re-read them. (I was tempted to instead nominate his fellow depairado, Dave, but do I really need to hear or read once again why the novelisation of Braveheart is his favourite novel of all time?)
Kara at Radio Active because it was through Kara that I finally got round to reading the wonderful To Kill A Mockingbird; because she has been known to stick the boot into Chuck Palahnuik on occasion, and because she will be sure to write of novels that don't include the words 'News' 'From' 'Nowhere' in the title.
John at A Revolutionary Act because he will tell me once again why I should read Emile Zola's Germinal.
John at A Revolutionary Act has picked up the baton and posted his version of events, revealing in the process that he is looking at the Fahrenheit 451 question through the wrong end of the telescope, and reminding me - in an echo of his answer to the question - that I could have opted for Julie Christie's character in Truffaut's film version of Fahrenheit 451 as my answer rather than a fictional scally from the backstreets of Liverpool. Only drawback to that option is that I haven't read the novel and have no idea of her character's name. Just minor complications, but I'm working on it.


John said...

Jeez, Darren, you're sickeningly well read. You SHOULD read Germinal, though, it's a fabulous book.

Nice link to the Bulgakov book too, and at the risk of self-promotion, check out yesterday's C&S posts for my kicking of Palahniuk!

Darren said...

Hello John,

I've already read the post - nice one.

I bet your sight meter is doing a roaring trade at the moment after the namecheck from Harry's Place. Who knows, you may even get a comment from Morgoth himself. I'm still awaiting that honour with baited breath.

Nice mention of the Poison Girls, btw. You can't go wrong with them. ;-)

John said...

Yer not wrong on both counts. The annoying thing is, I spend hours crafting accounts of holiday fun and no one pays a blind bit of notice, then slip in two lines of observational irony and the site meter goes barking.

I may just have to resort to sticking in cartoons.


Darren said...

Don't be too hasty.

There is a bad anecdote and even worse pun to accompany that cartoon. Picasa's on a tea break and it refuses to help me out.

Aye, I know what you mean about the 15 minutes of fame bit though. Uncle Normski namechecked me one time and my sitemeter started overheating for a few hours.

Trouble was, the overwhelming majority of those who visited only stuck around for 0.00 and no hide nor hair of them have been seen since. Tasteless sods.

It got to the stage that day that i was tempted to do a short blog along the lines of: "Nothing to see here, people. By clicking on the link you will be safely taken back to Normski." ;-)

John said...

Excellent. I trolled lenin a while back after I got site meter put in just to see what response it would get me: I had the same results as you. We'll see now if Harry's Place readers have attention deficit disorder as well. I suspect the stuff at C&S is too dull and uncontroversial for their jaded palates though.