Monday, August 21, 2006

Double Meme Double Pleasure!

Tagged in a book meme which was obviously inspired by my pre-holiday post. Thanks Cristy and Helen. While I'm there I'm going to pick up Ampersand Duck's remember to breathe meme, which was started in memory of her brother, spotted at Cristy's. OK, let the frivolities commence...

1. One book you have read more than once

The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway. A story about a man trying to catch a fish. Also a story about age, respect, childhood, loyalty, the curious bond between hunter and hunted, survival, meaning, honour, ridicule, determination, abject disappointment and the very meaning of life.

Proof that perfection can be achieved in a hundred pages. Like any other great story, but with 50% surplus waffle excised by literature's greatest precision scalpel.

2. One book you would want on a desert island

I'd get an anthology of short stories by a mixed bag of great writers, then I'd be able to keep sampling different writers over and over. Or maybe just The Turning, Winton's recent short story collection, because beloved liked it and his writing might evoke a little of Australia for me.

3. One book that made you laugh

Platform, by Houellebecq. I know it's wrong but he's just so good.

4. One book that made you cry

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Safran Foer. It comes under laugh as well. Also, if there were a category for best book you've read in the past 2 years this would probably take it out.

5. One book you wish you had written

In terms of quality but not the actual content I wish I'd written something as good as Atomised by Houellebecq. In an overall sense, taking ownership of content as well, I'd probably nominate Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close again.

The legal nerd in me wishes I'd written the argument that was put to the High Court and which led to Mabo II.

6. One book you wish had never been written

The Latham Diaries. Not the way he did it. It's just sad, a Shakespearean tragedy played out in a mess of blood and knives at the periphery of Australian politics. Maybe the Clash of Civilisations, because in certain hands it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I reflected on various books of religion, and decided that I wouldn't undo their writing, however I'd love to have final editorial sway over the following...

Nasty, genocidal bits of the Old Testament, particularly the stories of Canaan and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Any chunk of the Koran and Hadith that has proven open to sadistic interpretations.

7. One book you are currently reading

As per my holiday post, I'm part-way into reading the following:

Day of the Jackal by Forsyth;
The Tyrannicide Brief by Robertson QC;
The Latham Diaries by the Tourettes headcase;
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Murakami
Phoenix: Policing the Shadows by Holland; and
In the Shadow of Swords by Neighbour.

Currently focusing on the Jackal. Actually, there are others I've started and keep meaning to finish, including a non-fiction account of the real Carlos the Jackal's story. And a draft novel by a friend of my wife.

Plus, I'm supposed to be reading Kaz Cooke's Up the Duff!

I'm hopeless.

8. One book you have been meaning to read

Everything is Illuminated by Safran Foer. Plus all the half read books above. Plus Tim Winton's The Turning.

9. One book that changed your life

Different Seasons, a book of 4 novellas by Stephen King. In particular Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was later turned into the movie.

I read this story in a train station in Norway, as a 17 year old backpacker. After reading it I became anti-capital punishment and formed the view, which I still hold, that the state should be held liable for everything that happens to any person who the state throws in prison. I also realised Stephen King wastes his talent with all that horror, fun though it is.

We, by Zamiatin, also changed my life. I'm not good at this 'one' business, hey?!

10. Now tag five people

Scroll on down...

Meme II: Remember To Breathe (12 simple things that keep me going year after year)

1. My wife.

2. My unborn child.

3. My cats.

4. My friends.

5. An image of myself standing on an airport tarmac somewhere as several world leaders shake hands having agreed to the final covenent, written by me, that brings peace to the planet.

6. Variations of 5 that involve slightly less ambitious but nonetheless rewarding outcomes.

7. My guitars, and stuff I sing along with them.

8. Folks and family.

9. The combined pleasure of coffee and newspapers, first thing in the morning.

10. The combined pleasure of a good book and a nice glass of something alcoholic, last thing at night.

11. The novel I must write someday soon.

12. All the dirtbags who ever screwed me over, because giving up would be letting them, and the dark, depressive blot they've left on my psyche, succeed.

OK, over to you, if you've read this and haven't yet done either or both of these, you're tagged. Feel free to leave a trackback if you take me up on it...

10 comments:

kate said...

Up the Duff is very good, funny as well as informative, we've been reading it too. it's certainly preferable to the books. the Bloke likes to read only the information pertaining to the current week, and tells me off for reading ahead. I read ahead (and go back to previous weeks) because I like some warning about what's happening to my body more than a day in advance (and because a lot of the info is relevant to more than one week).

As a further recommendation, Kaz Cooke writes with the assumption that mothers to be aren't the only people reading the book, and genuinely embraces involved partners.

cristy said...

Nice. I like both of these memes.

I didn't enjoy Atomised at all, though I am sure it was simply because of the content. It just seeemed so nasty and dark (and deeply sexist)...

I've never heard of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Safran Foer, so I'll try to look that one up.

Armagnac Esq. said...

Atomised was not the lightest reading, he's not exactly a nice chap!

Don't worry, ELAIC is pretty much the opposite!

phil said...

Hey armaniac, what guitars do you own?

TimT said...

If I were to make a weird pop-culture-blog-meme joke, I'd note that Cristy Ain't No Houellebecq Girl. But that would be silly.

Hemingway's an excellent author, though perhaps not the only one to ever wield the literary scalpel - Chandler, obviously, and the Icelandic saga writers come to mind.

James said...

Challenge accepted. Though I modified the questions slightly.

Armagnac Esq. said...

Cristy aint no houllebecq girl is a winner!

Phil, just a couple of accoustics and a Godin, with a fender tube amp, last seen live in my band the fat controller.

And James, well.. people James has turned it into an interesting Band meme, check it (damn, where's my bit of html when I need it?!)

http://april-march.blogspot.com/2006/08/band-meme.html

Zoe said...

9. The combined pleasure of coffee and newspapers, first thing in the morning.

Just you wait ... ;)

(Doorbitch says: inbin)

Armagnac Esq. said...

That's when I'm gonna take up podcasting, so I can chase around whinging into a mike held in one hand while wiping spew off the walls with the other.

Once I work out how podcasting works, of course. Gimme 3 years.

Zoe said...

By that time you'll be able to read the paper again ;)