Saturday, May 21, 2005

Book Tag! Book Tag! Arrgh!

I've been Tagged by Karl! I'll be tagging some folks at the bottom -- five, I believe, according to the rules. If you're reading this, check to see if you've been tagged and do your part in perpetuating the meme...

1) What is the total number of books I've owned?

Hundreds of hardcovers, probably thousands of paperbacks, over the past 25 years. I don't keep them around, though -- my darling wife has cured me of my pack-rat ways, and now if it's not a beautiful hardcover book that I'm likely to re-read they go straight to friends, the local Half-Priced Books, or Goodwill.

2) What is the last book I bought?

"Mediated" by Thomas De Zengotita and "America (The Book)" by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show Folks. Bought them simulataneously on Amazon. "Mediated" is fascinating, but it's taking me forever to finish. "America" is a riot.

3) What is the last book I've read?

Working on "Mediated" right now, almost finished. But the last book I finished was "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas" by Tom Robbins. Fantastic, as is to be expected.

4) What are the 5 books that have meant a lot to me?

"The Chronicles of Narnia," by C. S. Lewis. I read and re-read this series at least 10 times when I was a kid, and one of my most wonderful expereinces as a parent so far has been reading them out loud with my daughter.

"The Crying of Lot 49," by Thomas Pynchon. I loved it when I read it, 17 years ago, in an Experimental Narratives in Lit. class, and it still resonates for me.

"The Prince of Tides," by Pat Conroy. Yes, it's melodrama, but it's beautifully written melodrama, and I've never forgiven Barbra Streisand for jettisoning the incredible, heartbreaking middle portion of the book (the story of how his brother died) so that she could give her manicure more screen time.

"Interview with the Vampire," by Anne Rice. I'm putting this one in to irritate Karl. Truthfully though, I thought this book was wonderful -- beautifully written prose that sounds like it was grown in a hot-house somewhere in the deep South. Rice has gotten exponentially worse with each subsequent release, but this one is a keeper.

"The Sandman," by Neil Gaiman. Had to bring some graphic novels in here, and if you're gonna pick one, this is the one to pick. Brilliant, thoughful, engrossing, and epic in scale. Wonderful.

Extra credit question: What book would you wish to buy next? Well, the next book I AM buying is "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." Lately the book I WISH I could buy is an autobiography written by Kirsty MacColl, revealing how the boat accident that killed her 5 years ago was just a hoax and she's actually been working on yet another mindboggling brilliant CD all this time. Alas, this seems unlikely....

I'd like to Tag:

Sigh, pretty much everyone I read and who actually reads me has already been tagged by Karl or Ray! I'll go with ...
  • Richard (who never reads anyone else's stuff, and who will almost certainly not see this...)
  • Lisa (his fiancee, who actually *might* see this, and who will then tell Richard about it so he can respond and not seem like too much of a dick...)
  • Mike D.
  • Lisa Snellings (hope she's still reading me -- I ADORE her work!)
  • And a mystery lady, who has asked to not be linked from my site but who I trust will know who I mean and will go ahead and pick up the meme on her own...
  • I'm going to put a sixth here: Lee in AZ
Mood: Mellow
Now Playing: Various Artists, "Late Night Tales: The Flaming Lips"


Rich B. said...

HA! I was here first. I'll post more later in way of a response. Weiner.

Lee said...

LOL! That Birdamn guy put you up to it, didn't he? :-)

I'll get to it soon.

Lisa said...

Yes, Rich was here first and was the one to let me know of the fact that we had both been tagged. Now the race is on to see who actually answers the questions first.

Anonymous said...

Oh. OH!

Duh! It took me this many days to put it together!

I'll consider myself "myterious," a "lady," and very book tagged.

Thanks Greggg xoxoxoxo

Karl Elvis said...

I was gonna put in Sandman but decided not to do any comics/graphic novels. We need a different list for that.

But Gregg, Interview is crap. Pure unadulterated crap. She adds nothing new to the vampire mythos, writes annoying, snivling characters, and endlessly repetitious description.

Rice isn't a good writer. Not at all. She never was and she's gotten worse. She wrote one good book. The Mummy. And that was good because it aimed low and nailed the target.

But you know, I think I had ERB on my list. It's not about what's good. B^)

Gregg P. said...

Ha,, Karl -- it worked! You're irritated! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Whatever I like IwtV. I don't particularly care if it adds anything to the mythos, or if the characters are whiny -- I like the overall gloomy and melancholy mope of the whole mess. It's very ... sepia toned.

And the purpose of the list was books that we liked, not books that are brilliant, right? Thus, ERB on yours, AR on mine. She's not a great writer, but it worked for me and left an impression.

Ironically, of the 5 books/collections in my list, I only consider 2 of them to be great writing (in pure terms -- those would be Pynchon and Lewis). Sandman is one of those whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts pieces. Very good writing, but it's sometimes uneven. Conroy writes beautiful prose, but his plotting is pure southern-fried melodrama. And, well, Rice is Rice. If it's quality you're looking for, the most significant piece of literature I've read is the Complete Works of Shakespeare, but it's not on this list 'cause it felt like cheating, you know? Plus, I'd really need to break The Tempest and King Lear out from the rest as being even more significantm, and then there's all the other great ones, and well, then the list would be a big fuckin' mess.

Ah, opinions and assholes: we all got 'em, and they all stink.

Lisa said...

I've posted my answers on my blog. Take a read. . . . and Gregg, I agree with you on the Chronicles of Narnia. GREAT to read as a kid and an adult. Magical. I might dust those off and read them again this summer. Thanks!