Tuesday 29 March 2005

Mr Schwartz is intrigued.

I am the chosen one. Well, one of the chosen three. Well, one of the many sets of three that have so far been chosen. It's practically fame. All this is my stupid way of saying that Richard would like me to answer these questions what are doing the rounds, about books. Well, OK, then.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith. Unfortunately, memorising it would ruin the jokes for me, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. A book about human nature, friendship, and fear, told in the style of Philip Marlowe, set in an insane world full of cool gadgets; genuinely horrifying, preposterously funny, and very visual. I've found something new in there every time I've read it.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Yes, but I'm a pushover that way. I really immerse myself in what I'm reading, so, if the main character has a crush on someone, chances are I'll empathise with that — unless she's really objectionable. Oh, and there was Geriatrix's wife in the Asterix books. Did any small boys not fancy her?

The last book you bought is
The Stingray Shuffle, I think, by Tim Dorsey. Tim Dorsey used to be the nightdesk editor on The Tampa Tribune, which involved sifting through the disgusting things Florida's criminal classes did to each other every night. He took the bizarrest and most disgusting murders and turned them into extremely funny novels about Serge A Storms, the clinically insane expert on Florida history and lovable homicidal maniac. You know the way books say "This book will make you laugh out loud" on their covers and then they don't? Well, these ones do. They also prevent you from ever wanting to set foot in Florida.

The last book you read:
The Company by Arabella Edge. It was OK, but I wouldn't recommend it; interesting, but quite tiresome by the end. The narrator is the murderer, and it's just not as interesting to hear his point of view as the author seems to think it is; he's quite one-dimensional. I think I got it for about 70p in a sale, though, so that's all right.

What are you currently reading?
HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian. It's the third of the Aubrey-Maturin novels I've read; I plan to read all of them. There are lots of things about these books that ought to make me hate them, but O'Brian carries it all off somehow.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
I assume that someone has written How To Survive On A Desert Island or something along those lines, but I'll stick to fiction.
The City Watch Trilogy by Terry Pratchett. Not really a trilogy at all; an omnibus, rather. Perhaps someone will publish the complete Discworld collection in one volume before I go to this island, in which case I'll take that instead. Apart from anything else, I could use it as a raft.
Torpedo Juice by Tim Dorsey. His latest. I've not read it yet, but every one of his books has been even better than the last, and there's no reason to suspect that that trend will change.
Against A Dark Background by Iain M Banks. If I were stuck on a desert island, I'd want to see some other landscapes, and few books contain more scenery than this. Not to mention grandeur, humour, action, and adventure. Come to think of it, back to question two: Sharrow, the main character in this book, is rather attractive.
Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson. This book changed the way I see the world and myself, and, like all my favourite books, is also excruciatingly funny. It's not a trilogy, despite its title.
And either The Complete Illustrated Lewis Carroll or The Annotated Alice — a copy of which I am told my grandfather died clutching. A tough choice, that: Martin Gardner's brilliant explanation of the Alice books or The Hunting Of The Snark and Phantasmagoria. Could no-one put all this in one volume? Please?

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Gary, because he's my friend and we lend each other books and he hasn't blogged for over a week.
Natalie, because she is the High Queen of Blogging and I can't believe no-one's passed this to her yet.
And Esther, because her answers are likely to be amusingly strange. If she answers it. Which she probably won't.


Happily, I was wrong: Esther has replied, and her answers are not at all strange.

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