Sunday, August 13, 2006

I've been tagged by Doug. Nine questions on books all starting 'One...'. One is impossible. I decided to actually complete this as quickly as I could otherwise I'd have spent all day agonising over choices and decisions. Here goes...

One book you have read more than once:

classics are probably top of the list – various books by Austen, Dickens, Defoe, Orwell. Fugitive Pieces Ann Michaels. If nobody speaks of remarkable things Jon McGregor. Thinks... David Lodge.

One book you would want on a desert island:

Gulliver's Travels.
I knew the story as a child but reread it as an adult. (if you haven't done so, I recommend it). Admittedly, Gulliver may have fared better had he washed up on uninhabited desert islands but he did get himself out of some pretty hairy situations. I may be able to pick up some tips. Failing that I could daydream about who I would get the Yahoos to bring back from the dead so I could question them about the best way to live on my island.

One book that made you laugh:

there is just one book here – a clear winner: Fowlers End by Gerald Kersh. It is truly a laugh out loud, hysterical book. Sadly out of print I'm told.

One book that made you cry:

I cry at the news and when reading the newspaper but I honestly cannot remember a book making me cry. I'm sure I must have done at some point.

One book you wish you had written:

Some sort of social observation set in London. The trilogy Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky by Patrick Hamilton, Grub Street by George Gissing, the aforementioned Fowlers End, Mother London by Michael Moorcock, London Observed by Doris Lessing, the list goes on...

One book you wish had never been written:

at the time anything I was forced to read for English GCSE which does include the greats 1984, Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights. I simply hated the teacher (I don't use the word 'hated' lightly) who I still remember told us there were 24 letters in the alphabet and she once read “the sharp on the hill” rather than “sheep”. We had a battle of wills once over a copy of Tess of the d'Urbevilles. The pear which formed part of my packed lunch had squidged over the cover. She went mad and shouted at me to wash it. I thought this a little harsh as it was an accident and also a little stupid as books and water don't really mix. (I did tell her this). She shouted at me again and so I went and plunged the whole book into a sink full of water in the girls' toilets. I'm digressing.

One book you are currently reading:

I'm going through a short story phase. I've just read The Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty three new stories translated by Peter Constantine and have Michel Faber's The Fahrenheit Twins and Mick Jackson's Ten Sorry Tales waiting in the wings.

One book you have been meaning to read:

too many to list and I cannot choose just one. I have set myself the task of reading something by each of the authors mentioned in a section at the back of Moorcock's London Bone. Dedicated to Iain Sinclair it is simply titled: London's Lost Writers. Some mentioned are not lost or forgotten but the entire list runs to over 75 authors of which I've managed about twenty. I have a long way to go and some of the writers mentioned have been out of print for a good number of years.

One book that changed your life:

unfashionable now I know but Enid Blyton's Famous Five series and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken. I realised you didn't have to be a “girly girl” like Anne or Sylvia but could be brave and adventurous like George (Georgina) or Bonnie. What a revelation!


coolbuddha said...

I too hated 1984 when forced to read it at school, same for Great Expectations. Took years before daring to give them a second chance, and it was as if they were different books. The teacher made people read out loud in class - nothing wrong there, but the worse you were, the more likely it was she would pick you. Awful woman.

Doug said...

I KNEW you'd play! You are the only other blogger I know that consistently posts book reviews, so I had to tag you. I have to make notes on some of your selections, they sound interesting!

coolbuddha said...

doug - I wish I had a teacher like ems when I was at school.

City Slicker said...

What do you think of Zadie Smith?
Just finished On Beauty this week and cant say I am completely on the bandwagon.

ems said...

Thanks Buddha!

CS - I read White Teeth on holiday in Tunisia a few years ago. I enjoyed it but didn't get all the hype surrounding Smith. I haven't felt at all compelled to read On Beauty.

Che-Jay said...

Is it the Same Moorcock of the fantasy ilk?

ems said...

Jay, yes. I haven't read any of his fantasy stuff though.