Ready? Set? Whimper!
--1. One book that has changed your life.--
The G: I don't have one. Nothing that I consider life-changing, that's what television is for! Dah dum dum.
I love to read, and I don't read nearly as much as I should or as I used to. But here's a story: I have read just about everything Douglas Coupland has ever written, and I happened to have a copy of MicroSerfs with me one summer at a camp where I was working the yr after I graduated from HS. And one of the campers saw it, and we started talking. It turned out he loved Douglas Coupland (& the Charlatans UK), and was only a year or two younger than myself. We kept in touch via email, and then he came back to work at the camp himself the next year, and we both went to college to pursue graphic design, etc.
So MJ and I have been friends many moons, all because of Douglas Coupland. (dramatic, eh?)
Douglas Coupland was also the first time I read an author who I found completely and totally contemporary. It blew my mind that someone out there had the ability to write and publish a book so quickly, that it was perfectly pop-culture relevant/current, even as you were reading it.
The N: I’ve never heard of Douglas Copeland unless he’s the guy who wrote Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy and I don’t really see how that’s contemporary. In the second chapter when Ford goes to the Horse and Groom pub he buys six pints of bitter, pays 5 pounds and then tells the barkeep to keep the change. Whenever I’ve been to England a single beer costs 5 quid and that not even including curry-flavored crisps. That book must have been written 40 years ago.
But if two crazy sci-fi nerds can bond over the meaning of 42 at math camp 10 years ago, then who am I to knock the book?
The G: This insult from a grown man who checks out comic books from the library.
The N: : Graphic novels.
--2. One book you have read more than once.--
The G: Every book. I never read a book once. Ask my mother. In 1985, she sat through a car trip to Myrtle Beach that involved me re-reading Ann M. Martin's Bummer Summer no less than 27 times, some of it aloud, one of my most annoying habits. That is not what you are here for, I know. My most over-reads include Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, Douglas Coupland's Gen X, A.S. Byatts' Tower of Babel, and Dave Eggers AHBWOSG, but only because it was the only book in my beach bag for 4 summers in a row, and therefore the only thing I ever had on-hand to read during vacation.
The N: What are you guys talking about? Why would people read books more than once? I once checked out a Patricia Cornwell book-on-tape from the library and it turned out I had already listened to on another road trip. Boy, was I pissed. I already knew that the French albino werewolf was the killer and that Cornwell’s man-hating inclination meant the all the male side character would be killed in a brutal manner. Actually, that’s the outcome of all her books so I couldn’t be too angry. Jack the Ripper? French Albino werewolf.
--3. One book you would want on a desert island.--
The G: Something big, or unruly. Or both. Infitite Jest? Gravity's Rainbow? They certainly aren't favorites, or anything, but I'd need to pass some time. Not Mason-&-Dixon pass the time, but still. Occupation.
The N: Wouldn’t being stuck on haunted island be frustrating enough without self-inflicted Thomas Pynchon damage to haul around from cave to inlet to abandoned missionary chapel? Why not something to distract from the yellow sulfur monkeys like a Garfield Treasury? One of the early ones where the vet still blocked all of Jon advances, unlike the hokum that Jim Davis is currently trying to force down our craws in today’s papers.
--4. One book that made you cry.--
The G: Bridge to Terabithia, Didion's Year of Magical Thinking which I read sniffling in the corner of a Border's.
This is the time in our program when the N. makes fun of me. Ready? Go.
The N: You wish you were that special. I'll make fun of anyone who cries because of a book. Unless Brian's Song is based on a book. Then it's okay.
--5. One book that made you laugh.--
The G: Neal Pollack's Never Mind the Pollacks, John Water's Crackpot, Sedaris (duh) and the part in Take the Cannoli where Sarah Vowell goes to a goth club.
The N: You know how in Vowell’s Assassination Vacation she talks about seeing a plaster replica of Lincoln’s hands? It is way harder to make those than you’d think. First, the kits you can buy at Michael’s are only designed to be used on babies, so there isn’t enough plaster to make an entire fist. Also, they don’t refer to is as “plaster” but as “Precious Gel” which is creeptastic. And don’t attempt to use joint compound to fill the rest of the mold because it will fail terribly. Even after 2 weeks that nasty goo hadn’t set and it crumbled apart seconds after being exposed to air.
Sarah Vowell’s books offer no humor or laughter. Only sticky messes and frustration.
--6. One book you wish had been written.--
The G: Err. Um. I'm not that creative. I usually just find books I wish I had written, and in turn become jealous & sulky. Speaking of, eat a fat one, Zadie Smith.
The N: Oksana Baiul’s autobiography.
--7. One book you wish had never been written.--
The G: I'm going out on a limb here: Heart of Darkness. I know. Please direct all emails, subject line: "YOU=IGNORAMUS", to: email@example.com.
There's a few things by Joyce Carol Oates that make me want to stab my eyes out, too. Another time, kittens, another time.
The N: The G only picked Heart of Darkness because it is Joseph Conrad’s most famous work and folks have heard of it. The truth is she has an unwholesome dislike for all things Conrad. Case in point: our Monday nights were once built around watching Medium until you found out that Patricia Arquette starred in a movie version of The Secret Agent.
--8. One book you are reading currently.--
The G: Petals on the Wind by VC Andrews. I should be done around 3:50, in case anyone wants to borrow it.
The N: Cooking With Miracle Whip Salad Dressing by The Consumer Affairs Department of Kraft Kitchens. Miracle Whip is the Marmite of the North America and the finest foodstuffs invented last century. Outside of the strawberry flavored Charleston Chew, of course. But how could I enjoy its deliciousness unless I was eating it as dressing on an iceberg lettuce salad or spread on a Wonderbread and bologna sandwich? Cheesy Miracle Asparagus is how. Yum.
--9. One book I have been meaning to read.--
The G: Cloud Atlas has been on my Amazon wish list forever now. So has The Enchanters vs. Sprawlburg Springs. My Amazon list is atrocious. What this means: you people need to buy me more gifts.
The N: 1776, 1812, 1491, 1968, 1421, 1945, 2001 and April 1865
--10. Pass it on.--
Seriously, we don't have friends. Up for grabs, troglodytes and prom queens and T15.