Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Empty Shelves

Nick hit me up with this book questionnaire. And you know I always perk up when someone says "you're it !!!" (see previous post) --even if they don't mean it in the flattering Clara Bow fashion. I wasn't expecting to be tagged here... you see, Me and Books? We've and off-and-on again relationship. But it's less a passionate Liz & Dick thing and more a f*** buddy situation; we have hot times but we both know we're not in love. Our downfall? Well, I need more visual stimulus. And, as for my buddy Books...She needs a partner with more stamina / less attention deficit disorder.

1. Total Number of Books I Own
I'm guessing close to 200ish. I recently purged before a big move and some things are still in boxes currently, sooooo, an exact # I no give.

2. Last Book I Bought
Bite Club a West Hollywood vampire novel. I know. I know. But I was on a short vacation and I wanted something to read, light and easy, on the plane.

3. Last Book I Read
That'd be To Kill a Mockingbird (loved!) which was part of a series of intermittent attempts to bone up on things that everyone else knows by heart. The DVD of the Oscar-winning film version is atop my TV currently because I also haven't seen that incarnation. I've been Mockingbird-less my whole life.

4. Book I Am Currently Reading
Bite Club. I just started it. On the plane (see question #2) I read about the tabloid-ready adventures of Angelina & Brad instead --then fell fast asleep.

5. Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Fiction of course. I'm the same way with films. I know it's hip to love the documentary. But it's just not me.

6. The First Book I Read
I can't remember. But as a child my absolutely favorite book was One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer. And my parents read aloud to us a lot on family road trips so I vaguely remember Lord of the Rings (which I did not love) and The Chronicles of Narnia (which I did).

7. Largest Impact
The Little Prince I've read it multiple times and in three languages and it gets to me every damn time. Resonant, imaginative, profound, and plain ole perfect.

8. Favorite Scholarly Book
Desperately Seeking Madonna: In Search of the Meaning of the World's Most Famous Woman

9. Most Read Book
I'm copying Nick's answer here only because it's true: Inside Oscar --there are a multitude of books covering this topic but only this one is indispensable. The rest blur together.

10. Sexiest Book
I don't think I'm reading the right things.

11. Biggest Disappointments
I'm not disappointed in books so much as disappointed in myself for never reading them. My number one disappointment is that I've never read Another Country by James Baldwin which numerous people close to me swear by. I am so non-bookish that I thought it was the book that that 1984 Rupert Everett flick was based on.

12. Five Books that Mean Something to Me
05 Germinal because it, along with Cabaret (the movie) were important signposts to me in my adolescence that aesthetically, morally, politically, I was not my parents' son. The parents were horrified that I loved both.
04Beloved most particularly because it takes such a major dive into the glorious land of artistic gamble/risk and elevates itself to pure genius.
03The Uncanny X-Men (The Claremont/Byrne years)I know these are comic books and probably should be technically ineligible for this survey but to me they were everything at the time; Art, literature, mythology, and family.
02Queer in America by Michelangelo Signorile because it helped me to be strong, proud, and to fight the good fight.
01The Great Gatsby because I get all -well, simply put, I love it.

13. Tag
You are it. Answer any of the questions above herein if you don't have a blog. If you do, answer it there and direct us on over.

6 comments:

Nick Davis said...

Bite Club and Desperately Seeking Madonna are totally amazing answers. I'm'a finish this dissertation and read those fuckers.

I'm so glad you're an Inside Oscar queen, too... I spotted it on your shelf, and I noticed you have the yellow one. I have the blue one, but I grew up on the red one. So many Inside Oscars to keep up with. What a completely fab book, though. (I assume you've caught up with Inside Oscar 2?)

NATHANIEL R said...

oh but color me versatile, my tagging pardner --My Inside Oscar obsession runs in all colors. The purging (before the move) booted the extra copies ;)

Joe R. said...

I posted my answers on my seldom-used LJ here.

I need to buy myself Original Recipe Inside Oscar. I've read most of it because we have a copy here at work. And I won Inside Oscar 2. But the big book is such an invaluable resource. I love it.

Aaron said...

I played. You can read it here if you are so inclined.

Cheers!
P.S. Happy Birthday.

adam k. said...

My 5 faves, off the top of my head:
5) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I remember having a sort of unhealthy obsession with this book in middle school when I first read it. So dark and beautiful. Perhaps the first indication of my adult preference for "dark" narratives that goes along with my general sense of masochism. And I would always get so upset when everyone who hadn't read the book though Frankenstein was the monster... sheesh...
4) The Chronicles of Narnia. I went CRAZY with these when I was little. SO good. I was totally immersed. And the BBC movies were awesome, in that retro, low budget, BBC way.
3) Uncanny X-Men. Yup. I was obsessed as well, totally a part of their world from roughly age 10-14, the same time I got obsessed with Star Trek and to some extent, Star Wars. Yup. That's middle school for ya. Anyway, Nathaniel put it just right: "art, literature, mythology, family." So true. I remember reading the Colussus and Kitty Pride romance storylines and thinking "why can't this be my life? oh wait. it IS." And Cyclops and Jean... ah, Cyclops and Jean. #137 forever. Nathaniel understands.
2) Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, by Ken Wilber. I was totally obsessed with this for about a year and found I couldn't continue my life until I finished it. And it was LONG, I tell ya. Basically a big ol' philosophy/academia bible that taught me everything I need to know about the "isms", the end of history, how life is a miracle, etc. So scary to immerse oneself in but, I think, well worth the trip. Then when I was done, I felt like I'd read nothing. The Zen emptying, I guess.
1) Michael Cunningham's The Hours. Genius. I should read it again and see if it still resonates like it did, but DAMN, that book changed my life. It hit me at a crucial time and, I think, changed me forever. Taught me how to stop thinking, worrying, blaming myself for shit, feeling disempowered, feeling old, and just live. How to write the narrative of my life, if you will, and hopefully, other narratives as well. We'll see. (later read A Home at the End of the World, which was also great)
Sorry, this became huge. It's not like this is MY blog... But I love my list! Someone else discuss theirs!

Anonymous said...

1) Total number of books I own

I really don’t know. One day I’ll try to count them, I promise.

2) The last book I bought

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson. I’m curious to read it because, the wonderfully talented Kathryn Bigelow was trying to make a film based upon it. And also superstars such as Leo Di Caprio and Tom Cruise were interested.

3) The last book I read

LES FEX ROUGES (RED LIGHTS) by Georges Simenon. A very good american thriller, written by a french author.

4) Book I’m currently reading

DIRT MUSIC by Tim Winton. An extraordinary novel from Australia.

5) Fiction or Non-fiction

Fiction…but I know Non-fiction is very important.

6) The first book I read

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS or HUCKBERRY FINN, I can’t remember very well which one among these two…I was a child then…

7) Largest impact

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Dostoevkij. I was a teenager, and I couldn’t imagine how strong a writer could be. Everything from the great russian has been an important experience for me. I used to think human beings were more human when Dostoevskij wrote about them.

8) favorite scholarly book

TUTTO IL CINEMA DI HONG KONG by Alberto Pezzotta. An italian essay about the history of Hong Kong cinema.

9) most read book

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice. It was many years ago, but I was really captured by it, and I was definitely fascinated by Lestat. And no, the CRUISE affair concerning the film version (which was directed by Neil Jordan and I quite appreciated) didn’t bother me at all…maybe it’s me but I had no difficult to imagine him as an handsome, cruel and bisexual person…and it was time before he left Nikky…and before he shout like a crazy guy at Ophra’s.

10) Sexiest book

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTESS OF BEING by Milan Kundera. I totally fell for Sabina, and also today I think I could fall for a person like her. By the way, when in the film version she was played by Lena Olin, the beautiful swedish was called a thinking-man-sex-symbol. She was stunning in the film and it was cool because since I liked her (and her character) so much I could consider myself a thinkng man…just jocking!

11) Big disappointment

THE GOD OF THE SMALL THINGS by Arundhaty Roy. Well, not really the biggest (I’m not sure about it), but this nice writer was quite overrated with her first novel. A clear and simple writing, no doubt about it; but not so strong as it was said when the book was published.


12) five books that mean something to me

1) everything from Ian Mc Ewan. Well, maybe not really everything, but he’s one of the most important european writer.
2) THE WHITE HOTEL by D.M. Thomas. It’s a rather compelling novel. It concerns the Holocaust, the psychology, the sexuality. All important and difficult matters, but Thomas achieved a very good result. And, of course, it’s a quite touching book.
3) ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LONELINESS by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One special friend of mine gave me many years ago. Besides that, it’s one of the most important novel of the the 20th century.
4) THE NARROW CORNER by William Somerset Maugham. This marvellous writer could tell us about all the shades of human being, with passion and wit. I was twentyone years old when I read this novel, and I was totally leaded astray by the sexuality assumed in those pages. And maybe I’m still leaded astray by it…
5) THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I have not a great passion for fantasy book, but this retelling of King Arthur legend was a great pleasure for me. Maybe it was because once for a while the female characters were the most important, or the three some concerning Arthur, Gwynevre and Lancelot. Who knows?

Mirko S.