Friday, May 13, 2005

It's the Meme of the Book

I’ve been passed this by my favourite person in the whole of the United States, Blair Necessities. I accept the challenge, thank you. I do like reading and I’ve got a fair number of books scattered around various places. I must admit that I haven’t read Fahrenheit 451. I have seen the film though, does that count? Probably not, but I’ve got the general idea. Here goes:

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?
I was initially going to go for 1984 by George Orwell because it seems so relevant at the moment. On reflection, if I was stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, I think I’d tire of 1984 rather quickly and end up forgetting it all. Instead, I’d be The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (all five volumes in the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy) by Douglas Adams. It’s full of insights, good ideas, and general silliness; a perfect antidote to an authoritarian world. And I can remember most of it already.

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Well, Princess Leia, but I suppose that goes without saying (male + 33 years old + likes sci-fi = Princess Leia). She probably doesn’t really count since she’s a film character. Other than that I'm struggling with this one, sorry.

3. The last book you bought was...?
It was The Rough Guide to Ethical Shopping by Duncan Clark. I don’t have a beard before you start. There is a lot of interesting information in it, like the UK firms who contributed to the G. W. Bush re-election campaign fund.
ASDA, Marlboro, BP, Esso, AOL, Hotpoint, Kenco, Walkers crisps, UPS… just an unrelated list of names I’m not getting sued for using.
Anyway, it’s a useful book.

4. The last book you read was...?
The last book I finished was the same one as in Qu3. Here are some others I've recently finished reading: Riding the Rap by Elmore Leonard, Working the Wheel by Martin Brundle (shh!), and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

5. What are you currently reading?
I’m reading two books at the moment. Who Runs This Place? by Anthony Sampson is about who holds the reigns of power in 21st Century Britain. Informative and infuriating so far. Evolution by Stephen Baxter is a hard Sci-Fi novel which I’ve only just started reading. I’ve read a few of his novels and they’ve been uniformly good.
BTW, I got both of these from the library. What a fantastically great place. Go to your library at once, they’ll only shut it down if you don’t.

6. Five books you would take to a desert island...
This is a difficult one, only five? I’ll assume that I still remember all of the Hitchhiker books from Qu1 so I’ve got them with me anyway.
No1. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen* 1984, George Orwell.
I know I mentioned it already but it’s just so prophetic in so many ways. It’s a work of genius if somewhat bleak.
No2. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh.
Not a book for the faint hearted. Reading it is a continuous assault, a battering, and far darker than the film. It’s like being chased down an unfamiliar street at 3am with no-one else around. As a Scot, it has that blend of the familiar and the unfamiliar which constantly shakes you up.
No3. Vurt, Jeff Noon.
Set in a near future Manchester. It’s surreal in many ways but grounded in the gritty realities of urban life. And it’s got dogs in it. Actually, this needs a bigger health warning than Trainspotting.
BTW, I can’t remember who I loaned my copy to, but if you are that person, can I have it back please?
No4. Life of Pi, Yann Martel. I read this last year and it was just so moving. An extraordinary character in an extraordinary novel. I won’t even try to write about it. Just read it.
No5. I’m torn here, I want to take a Sci-Fi epic series but I can’t decide which one. It’s either The Red Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson, or the Revelation Space series by Alistair Reynolds. Both are very good and very long, perfect companions for a spell on a desert island. It’s a flip of the coin and one of them wins.

7. Who are you passing this stick on to and why?
This is difficult for two reasons. First, I know the meme has been around for a while and some of the people I suggest might have already done it (as mentioned in previous posts, I do have a terrible memory). Second, I’m pretty hopeless at asking people questions generally. It’s not that I don’t want to know, it’s just that I don’t like to impose on other people. In real life I tend to have very short conversations with people because of this. Oh well, this is the interweb, what’s the worst that can happen?
I’d like to pass this stick to Eddie because he hasn’t blogged since his epic post-election analysis and I’d like him to keep on blogging. I’d also like to nominate doctorvee because he’s just finished his exams so he’s probably bored (and it means I’ll have to leave another comment, see this post and comments). Finally, I’ll go for The Bagged Bear, smarter than the average bear, and friendly too.

That’s it, start memeing……………now!

*I stole this joke off a comment on one of the Guardian blogs. I haven’t managed to look it up so feel free to claim it as your own, especially if it was your own.

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