Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tagging along

There's this bit in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity where someone (finally) asks the narrator what his Top 5 records of all time are. Faced with this question, the narrator, despite having spent pretty much all his adult life creating Top 5 lists of songs / albums and being generally a total music freak, can't for the life of him come up with a ready answer. The problem isn't that he doesn't have a Top 5 list - the problem is that he has too many, so that when the moment finally arrives, there's no way he can fit all the deserving music into one top 5 list. It's a hilarious scene.

That's pretty much how I felt when I saw Shoe-fiend's tag this morning. When you spend half your life thinking about books, it's almost impossible to fit any coherent information about them into one tiny little book tag. It's like those forms where they say 'Tell us about yourself' and give you all of two lines to fill out. That may be okay if you're Paris Hilton, but for any real human being it's almost impossible to know where to start.

Still, I've never been able to resist the temptation to talk about books, even if only through a random book tag, so here goes:

Total number of books I own

(Ah! That one I can actually tell you. Exactly. One of the benefits of being a hyper-anal control freak is that I've actually counted the precise number of books in my bookshelf back in India, so instead of giving you some general estimate I can actually do this right. Let's see - that would be 618 books in India, plus 102 books here - making it 720 books. There. If you want more granularity, I can even tell you that these include some 178 books of poetry (127 in India, 51 here).

Oh, but wait, my friend R has a dozen or so of my books that I left behind with him when I moved out of Bombay. And I think M still has a couple of my books. And what about books that people have borrowed from me and not returned? Do those count? I have no real hope of ever seeing them again, but that doesn't mean I've renounced my claim of ownership. But adding all of that would make it...Oh, dammit)

Say ~ 725 - 750 books. Not including text-books / management books of course (that's work)

Last book(s) I bought:

Michael Ondaatje: The Cinammon Peeler

(suddenly realised I didn't actually own that! Much trauma)

Eugenio Montale: Collected Poems 1920 - 1954

Last book I read:

Okay, first of all, you have to understand that I often read multiple books in parallel, so which the last book I read is depends on whether you measure by the last book completed, or the last book I started and have managed to complete. To eliminate such technicalities, the books I read over the last three days are:

Amitav Ghosh: Incendiary Circumstances

(See my review here)

Imre Kertesz: Fatelessness

(A glorious book - Kertesz is phenomenal in every sense of the term - except that every time I read him, I'm reminded of this line from a Ramanujan poem that talks about how his mother's taste for bitter gourds reappears in his daughter's craving for Dostoyevsky. That's even truer of Kertesz, I think)

Books I'm currently reading

Cesare Pavese: Disaffections (Complete Poems)

(clearly, it's Italian poet month)

Ismail Kadare: The General of the Dead Army

(I've never read Kadare - so figured it was time)

Joan Didion: After Henry

(Part of my long-term project to read through all of Joan Didion's work over the next year)

Five books that I've really enjoyed or have influenced me

Right. Here's where I just cannot bring myself to pick five books. So I'm going to compromise (i.e. cheat). I'm going to come up with five categories of books. Then I'm going to pick five books in each category. And if you think that's unfair, you should come and see the kind of trauma I went through making these choices. I've spent pretty much the whole day agonising about them. Any more and it would be like Sophie's Choice (ah, one more book sneaked in! No, no, that one doesn't count.) [1]

1. Fiction

Franz Kafka: Complete Stories

(I don't actually own this edition - more's the pity - but have read pretty much all its contents)

Jane Austen: Emma

Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse

(This edition, unlike mine, has an introduction by Eudora Welty. Oooh!)

J. R. R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion

(I'm tempted to put this in non-fiction, actually)

2. Non-fiction

Henry David Thoreau: Walden

Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

(Nietzsche writes, speaking of the Will to Truth: "We did indeed pause for a long time before the question of the origin of this will - until finally we came to a halt before an even more fundamental question. We asked after the value of this will. Granted we want truth: why not rather untruth?")

Robert Graves: The White Goddess

(have you ever had that experience where you read a book and it tells you what you've always known but never managed to verbalise? This is a book that sends shivers down my spine)

Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus

(You knew this one was coming, didn't you?)

Colin Wilson: The Outsider

(Wilson's book figures here only because it dictated so much of my own reading when I was 20 / 21; as a book that influenced my life, it's hard to overlook)

3. Poetry

T.S. Eliot: Collected Poems 1909 - 1962

(one of the five first books of poetry I ever bought. And perhaps the only book where I can recite some 80% of the contents from memory)

Derek Walcott: Omeros

(Walcott is so relentlessly magnificient)

Sylvia Plath: Collected Poems

(I know, I know. Talk about being predictable. But this is Plath, after all)

Rainer Maria Rilke: Ahead of all parting - Selected Poetry

(I never entirely appreciated Stephen Mitchell's translation until I read some other version of Rilke and realised how terrible they were by comparison)

Arun Kolatkar: Jejuri

(Finally, finally, an international edition. Thank you Amit Chaudhuri. If you never read any other Indian poetry in English, you must, simply must, read this one)

4. Plays

William Shakespeare: The Complete Plays

(There is no way I'm going to pick between Shakespeare. I mean okay, so you can safely take out Merry Wives of Windsor and Love's Labour Lost and stuff, but you can't seriously ask me to choose between Lear, Hamlet, Midsummer Night's Dream and the Henry IV plays. I should say, though, that I'm fundamentally opposed to Shakespeare's Complete Works editions and don't actually own one. I believe in buying the plays individually. I don't understand how anyone can read one of these massive monster editions. )

Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie

("I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion". True beauty is always this fragile, this helpless.)

Samuel Beckett: The Dramatic Works

(Again, I can't bring myself to pick one. And besides, with Beckett, you could argue they're not different plays at all, just one play endlessly repeated so that it's different each time)

Sophocles: The Theban Plays

(By rights, this should be in poetry. But whatever)

Oscar Wilde: The Plays

(The genius of being perfectly trivial)

5. Others

Art Spiegelman: Maus

Goscinny and Uderzo: The Asterix Series

(I couldn't skip this one. What if the sky fell on my head?)

Barbara Minto: The Pyramid Principle

(There isn't a day goes by when I don't wish more people had read this book)

Richmal Crompton: The William Series

(How many books can give you the same amount of pleasure whether you read them at 8, 18 or 28?)

Agha Shahid Ali: In Memory of Begum Akhtar

(This one for purely sentimental reasons - I personally think it's one of Shahid's least accomplished books, but it's the one book of poetry we had lying around the house when I was a kid, and it set off a chain reaction that is still going)

Books I plan to buy next

(aka, the contents of my Amazon Wishlist)

Alexander Pushkin: Eugene Onegin (the Nabokov translation)

Constantin Cavafy: Collected Works

(I've read this, of course, but think it's important to own them. What if I suddenly get the urge to read Cavafy and the library is shut?)

Donald Justice: Collected Poems

James Merrill: Collected Poems

(I should emphasise, that I tend to buy only poetry now - novels I typically just issue out and read. Mom, Dad - you can go back to breathing now.)

Books that caught my attention but I've never read:

Soren Kierkegaard: Either / Or

Saul Bellow: The Adventures of Augie March

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Tycoon

Rabelias: Gargantua and Pantagruel

(A book which I own as of January this year, but haven't read yet)

Turgenev: First Love and other stories

Books I own but have never got around to reading

Thomas Paine: The Rights of Man

James Joyce: Finnegan's Wake

(well, technically, I've read the first four pages some three times. That's about how long my nerve holds out)

Vaslav Nijinsky: The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky

John Dryden: Collected Works

Theodore Dreiser: Sister Carrie

People I'm passing this on to:

No one. (Yes, the buck stops here). If you're reading this and enjoyed it and feel like you want to share your own list, consider yourself tagged. I'm not going to pick on anyone in particular. Though if you got this far, I'd love to read what you come up with, so don't feel shy about adding your own name to the comments section of this post.


[1] Books within each category are in no particular order



dazedandconfused said...

I've just started reading (about six months now) again, since I finished school. Somehow lost the habit in Engg and B-School campuses and the first 3 yrs. of work were too rushed. Getting back some perspective now, starting again slowly, with books less than 400 pages, (and of course, one at a time) rediscovering the joy of reading. Last two books I read were
1. Doing Business in China- James McGregor (came back from a business trip to Hong Kong and had to pick it up)
2. The Mystic Masseur- Naipaul (Nice, am thinking of picking up one of his travel writings next, maybe the one about South America. Do you recommend it?)

Poetry, somehow never got it. The only poetry which I find fascinating(though I dont get them either) is Urdu (Ghalib et al) but haven't got around to reading much of them either. Any primer tips?
Or should I just blame my parents for being Non-bengali/Non-Muslim Indians and forget about it?:)

Jabberwock said...

You only just got this tag? It was doing the rounds in June last year. Here's my half-hearted attempt, but do also see this one by Hurree Babu.

Yours is superbly comprehensive as expected - and here's a high-five for The Silmarillion!

Cheshire Cat said...

I am impressed by the Montale, mildly puzzled by the Pavese, and highly recommend Sandro Penna. I shall try to get "Jejuri".

Also glad that you mentioned the William books. I pretend to be ashamed of the fact that they're about all I read when I was in India recently. @Jabberwock: Thanks. I'm relieved to hear that the Faraway Tree stories are not merely a figment of my imagination.

And here's a characteristic list. Books or enthusiasms (or inclusive - er, and inclusive - bar one).

The Beginning - Italo Calvino:

Biography - Gertrude Stein: "Three Lives"
Sport - Thomas Bernhard: "The Loser"
Poetry - George Herbert: "The Temple" (Bodleian manuscript)
Juvenile Fiction - Daisy Ashford:
"The Visiters"

Vicious - Jane Austen: "Persuasion"
Hallucinatory - Francis Huxley:
"The Raven and the Writing Desk"
Elusive - Aldous Huxley: "The Crows of Pearblossom"
Allusive - David Markson:
"Wittgenstein's Mistress"
Alliterative - P.G.Wodehouse:
"Meet Mr.Mulliner"
Precious - Ronald Firbank:
"Prancing Nigger"
Verbose - Adalbert Stifter: "Rock Crystal"

The Beginning - Cervantes:
"Don Quixote"
The End - Cyril Hare: "A Perfect Murder"

For the Lotus-Eaters - R.K.Narayan: "Swami and Friends"
A Course in Letter-Writing - Choderlos de Laclos: "Dangerous Liaisons"
Bookworm's Delight - Anthony Trollope: "The Last Chronicle of Barset"

Anthological, cosmological -
Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes (ed.):
"The Rattle Bag"

Singular - Henri Guigonnat: "Daemon in Lithuania"

But what's the use? Books are boring (Larkin put it better). We should all go out in the sun with smiles on our faces.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

I considered not tagging anyone but I just had to know what was on your bookshelf. And as I expected there were lots of books my ignorant self had never heard of. Wonderful list. Now let me get back to my Tinkle.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Just read I'm a books man myself. Do you have any idea how painful a rubber band bikini could be? Unless the wearer had recently been brazillianed. But still ouch and double ouch.

Oh and spotted today morning: suitably pale, love sick latin types reading Neruda. Sigh

MumbaiGirl said...

Yummy List. Share your taste in poetry though I didn't mention it all on my tag.

Falstaff said...

Andy: If having non-Bong, non-Muslim parents was a reason not to get poetry, I wouldn't get any either. Unfortunately my Urdu isn't anywhere good enough for me to have read a lot of poetry in it (Ghalib, for instance, is often a little beyond me, though the parts I do get DESTROY me). On the whole, though, I find Faiz more accessible, so would strongly recommend him. Incidentally Rajkamal publications has a whole bunch of urdu works in devnagari script, in case, like me, you can't actually read Urdu in its original script.

Oh, and I must admit I've never really managed to get into Naipaul that much. So I've never read Mystic Masseur for instance. I thought the Miguel Street stories were interesting, though A House for Mr. Biswas struck me as being a little too ponderous. I also read an Area of Darkness a long time ago and quite enjoyed it, though again, I wasn't blown away. Plus a number of people have said good things about Million Mutinies. Still, I don't really know. Maybe some other people on this comments page could help?

Jabberwock: Errr...I wasn't blogging in June 2005, hard though that may seem to believe. Also, yes, I've seen this tag going around for a while, but it just never reached me, and well, as you say in yours - it's hard to have to put something like this down when you know that the next day you're going to want to completely change it all (OH MY GOD!, I thought to myself this morning, there's no Dostoyevsky in that entire post!!)

From your post - actually considered Shame for half a minute, and agonised for some ten about not including any Wodehouse (Leave it to Psmith was the designated pick, I think). Thought about Roth as well, though would have picked Sabbath's Theater over Portnoy. Also, your post reaffirms my resolution to re-read Moby Dick which I made the mistake of reading at the impressionable age of 12 and got unspeakably bored through.

Liked Babu's post as well, which I hadn't seen before. Wish I'd thought of doing the Sagas thing. Also, wonder if she's read the Anne Sexton fairy tale poems.

Note to Mom and Dad: Go see. These people have books in the Thousands. The thousands, you hear? You should be grateful to me for showing such admirable restraint in buying books. Of course, they do pay rent for the places they keep their books in, but what's a little money between family?

Cat: Thanks for the Penna reference; as well as the Herbert. Shall get. Why puzzled by the Pavese? Think he's interesting in parts - a lot of rambling, but every now and then a glorious Carver type poem comes along.

Have never even heard of the Huxley you mention (and I thought I'd read most of Huxley. Sigh) but the Don was another of those books that almost made it to my list. Oh, and the trick, of course, is to sit outside with a book and feel the sun on your face while you're reading.

Shoe-fiend: If you're really interested, i think I have photographs of my bookshelf somewhere (don't ask) - will post them at some point. Re: rubber band bikinis *exercises great restraint and doesn't make joke about how, yes, rubber bikinis are quite a stretch* I don't know anything about the fashion industry, but nothing has ever suggested to me that comfort of the wearer is a factor in anything they do. So.

Mumbaigirl: Thanks.

Veena said...

Hmm..I was wondering where all the Russian dudes went, but I guess it wasn't their day.

Btw, I am so happy. I did the math - I have read 68% of the books on your list. AND I own more books than you do. What more can one ask for?

Falstaff said...

Veena: Ya, I know. It's all Kafka's fault, actually - I was mulling between Dostoyevsky's Demons and Chekhov's Short Stories, and then I thought - wait, why not be efficient and just put in Kafka instead.

Sigh. Sometimes I hate myself.

Btw, did you ever do one of these things? If you did, please to send link. If not, consider yourself tagged (see, see, that's what you get for boasting about how well read you are to me! ME! Mwahaha!)

Neela said...

Nice. Haven't even heard of at least 68% of the books that you and cheshire cat and others write about. Oh well.

But here is a Subversive List of Books Never Likely to Make Falstaff's List But Which I Still Defiantly and Courageously Think are Cool:

1. Valley of the Dolls
2. Prep
3. War & Peace (SUCH a soap opera, though Andrei shouldn't have died)
4. The French Lieutenant's Woman
5. Middlemarch
6. Walter the Farting Dog
7. Trotternama
8. All about H Hatterr
9. The Thornbirds (though the movie with the dishy Richard Chamberlain was even better)
10. The Mayor of Casterbridge
11. I Claudius
12. The Talented Mr. Ripley (and the entire Ripley genre)
13. Love Story
14. Jane Eyre (ah! Mr. Rochester - far far more romantic than Heathcliff, I always thought)
15. Rebecca (Max de Winter being a close second to Rochester in terms of Tortured Romance).
16. Gone with the Wind
17. Choices, Values & Frames
18. The Flashman Series (AND the Philadelphia weekly named Flashy as the hero of our times. So there!)
19. The Water Babies
20. The Noddy Series.

Falstaff, I WILL understand if you choose not to associate with me any longer. After such knowledge, what forgiveness?


Jabberwock said...

Big thumbs up to Valley of the Dolls and the Noddy series! (ref. Neela's list)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

I second Valley of the Dolls and Thornbirds but stick by Heathcliff has moody hottie of all time!

Falstaff said...

Neela: Hmmm...have actually read about 60% of your list - and there's another 10% that I've seen as movies (does that count)

Big Thumbs up for All about H Hatter, War and Peace (see, Veena, more Russians) and Noddy. But Choices, Values and Frames???!!! Also, I'm with Shoe-fiend - I'd pick Heathcliffe over Rochester any day. Also, if you really want to shock me with 'low' taste you're going to have to do better than Jacqueline Susan. How about Stone for Danny Fischer. How about the Ostermann Weekend. How about Louis Lamour's Sackett novels?

Alok said...

Very eclectic list!

Was going to point out the absence of the russian dudes but I see, that has already been pointed out!

also a little surprised at your poetry list. no romantics? none from the great western canon? (okay, you have eliot and rilke but none from the pre-moderns?) and sylvia plath?

i mean it is more interesting this way, it at least looks very personal, not like some college poetry syllabus ;)

Nishant said...

Gliding over different blogs I've found your 'Addictive' blog. However your profile doesn't say much, except that you like Modern Art and enjoy people scraching their head in order to demystify your identity. But reading your blog gives an idea that you have been to India and to be more specific to Kolkata (It was reavealed by your cousin's blog). So after these scraps, may I know something about you?

Neela said...

Falstaff: Why would you pick Heathcliff over Rochester? I've never understood Heathcliff's charm.


Veena said...

Neela: What do you mean Subversive? Just cos they don't make Falstaff's(or as you say it so well, Falsie's) list doesn't make them subversive or anything. 55% of those books are on my list too.

Btw, have you ever seen Amadeus? Whenever you write Falsie, it reminds me of Wolfie. I kind of imagine you screeching Falsie at the top of your voice. :)

Falstaff said...

Alok: Thanks. And you're rubbing a raw nerve there - I would have loved to put in Keats or Browning, but there was no space. I would also have liked to include (to name just a few off the top of my head) Whitman, Neruda, Yeats, Dickinson, Auden, Hopkins, Ginsberg, Milosz, Milton, Donne, Blake, Williams, Stevens and Pope. But I DIDN'T HAVE THE SPACE. AARRGHHH!!

Nishant: You already know more about me than I do myself. So, for instance, I had no idea that I had an 'Addictive' blog, or that I had a cousin who blogs, or that Kolkata was the one place in India I'd been to (I have actually been to Cal - for all of three days). So really, if anyone's sharing info - it should be you.

Neela: Part of it, I suspect, is just that I think Emily's the better writer - so the overall novel has greater impact. Plus I don't know. I FELT for Heathcliff. I didn't for Rochester. i think it's a combination of the man's obsession and the landscape it's set in - it made the whole thing seem, somehow, wilder.

Veena: Aargh! I hate that in the movie. And please, don't encourage her.

Crp said...

I have read about 5 books in my life, so this is pretty easy:

1. Renu Rachnavali: Rushdie ought to read this ...

2. Emotions, Sartre: Bad title, good book.

3. Geneology of Morals, Nietzsche: My favourite Nietzsche.

4. Eggs, Beans and Crumpets: Favourite Wodehouse.

5. Wallace Stevens - collected poetry and prose. I plan to stop reading after I finish this.

Sony Pony said...

I agree with Neela, I never got Heathcliff's shtick either.

Also, you (falstaff) found "House for mr. Biswas" too ponderous? huh. how so?

My favorite books/authors: Jane Smiley and Ann Patchett. I'm in love with Rushdie. Manil Suri's "Death of Vishnu". Arundhati Roy's wonderful "God of Small Things". Isabel Ferbstadt's "Isaac and His Devils". Toni Morrison. Amartya Sen's "Argumentative Indian". Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". Tom Robbins is always fun to read. But my first serious love was Stephen King's "It" in the 7th grade. I devoured that 500page monster, had nightmares for a week and have forgiven King for all his crappy crappiness since.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. That's precisely WHY I didn't like Heathcliff. He was too melodramatic and too too one-dimensional - wild brooding romantic. Yawn. Now if Emily had made him a bond trader or a venture capitalist or something AND WBR, that would have been interesting. As it is you can imagine her thinking "Whoa, this would make a really cool Oscar-winning movie, with Russell Crowe in the lead as the WBR hero".

No. Give me Rochester anyday. But maybe this is "Are you a Sushmita Sen or Aishwarya Rai man" thing. (and, why, Falstaff, do I think you are going to admit to being an Ash Rai kind of fellow?)

Veena, I am confused - too many stats floating around in the last few days. 55% of my list? or Falstaff's list of which you had read 68%? (hmmm that 68% is a nice number - its something to do with being 2 standard dev from a mean or something, no? besides being almost an interesting sexual practice?). And since I professed to not knowing 68% of Falstaff's list, does my 68% and your 68% (those 68s again) somehow morph into a interesting number /graph that Falsie could potentially use to write his usual 7000 word polysyllabic polysemic essay which inevitably ends in some sort of intricately macabre death (often by normal distribution) routine?

had watched Amadeus a long time ago. No didn't know about Wolfie though. Interesting. will watch it again.


Cheshire Cat said...

I never managed to engage with Pavese. Maybe he's just too Italian? Wouldn't someone ignorant of Indian culture be puzzled by A.K.Ramanujam? I don't know. I used to despise Louise Gluck and now absolutely adore her, the utter and complete volte-face is always lying in the way. For to waylay.

Re. "The Crows of Pearblossom", I haven't read it, it was the one barred. And I shan't order it from abebooks or anything like that - the discovery shall be made in some poky little second-hand place and come as a splendid surprise. The results are invariably interesting when great writers try their hand at "genre fiction". Eliot with his practical cats, Stein's "The World is Round", even "Haroun and the Sea of Stories".

I am curious as to why you've stopped buying novels - isn't that privileging poetry far too much? (And "Omeros", for instance, is closer to the novel than to poetry). The poem is fateless, oblivious, wishes to be there absolute and all at once. Novels have a more relaxed attitude to bulk and sag, the burden of their history. Calmer, less of a disease.
Friendlier to life.

Naipaul - "The Enigma of Arrival", though not as funny as "Biswas", is a rivetingly assured achievement.

Crp, indeed, what could be there beyond "the palm at the end of the mind"?

Falstaff said...

Crp: Yes, that's exactly why I only read Stevens in extremely small doses. Too much and I'm afraid he'll wipe everything else out.

Sony Pony: Biswas - I don't know - I just didn't connect. Something about it just seemed contrived to me. But that's entirely a comment on me, not on Naipaul.

From your list: I've never cared for God of Small Things much, but couldn't agree more with Rushdie and Conrad (why only Heart of Darkness though - why not Nostromo or Lord Jim?). Also, Morrisson - yes, yes. Another writer I didn't manage to fit into my list. Also, now that I come to think of it, I didn't include any Faulkner. Kill me, kill me now.

Neela: NO, no, not Russell Crowe please. And you would have preferred Heathcliff to be a banker?! Banker's aren't romantic, they're just sad. Also strongly resent your accusing me of necrophilia. I am NOT an Ash Rai fan - I wouldn't say i'm a Sush Sen man either, but if those are the only two choices going then I suppose I would pick Ms Sen (though only with extreme reluctance).

Also, btw, what distribution has only 68% within two standard deviations. Death by normal distribution is a cool idea though. Talk about becoming statistically insignificant.

cat: I don't know. Some of his early poems I see that with, but at least some of the later work I'm reading is fairly urban and universal.

The logic behind only buying poetry (and that's only a proximate rule, btw, more honoured in the breach than anything else - I still managed to acquire some 40 non-poetry books in the last 18 months, swearing with each one that I must stop doing this) is that I rarely re-read novels and (with a few exceptions) almost never have the urge to quote them or flip them open to a page and random and read a bit of them (even when I do re-read stuff I go through the whole novel again). That means that as long as I have access to a good library, I don't really need to buy the book. That doesn't hold for poetry though. Invariably I'll be sitting about at home and some line will pop into my head and then I'll get really frustrated because I don't have the book and going to the library to fish it out just so I can read half a poem seems too much effort. This doesn't mean I'm reading less of the novel, though - if anything the ratio of novels / poetry in my reading has gone up over the years (though I must admit there was a time - I was 17 / 18 - when I read only poetry and didn't touch a novel for almost a whole year. It was fun. It made me appreciate the novel more when I came back to it).

Neela said...

one. one sd, right? i KNEW that was wrong somewhere!

no what I was saying is that Heathcliff is so entirely predictable.


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I'm lurking in the wings looking at other people's lists (such dirty fun, it's like peeping in at windows).

I haven't read a fraction of the stuff you guys mention here. I feel pleasantly stupefied at your commonality of experience with writers who are total strangers to me (68% or not).
Neela, your list is such a relief in comparison. Can you shed further light on "Walter the Farting Dog"? Or I'll just have to Google it.

Falstaff, if you make any more disparaging comments about Louis L'Amour, I shall bombard you with comments addressed to 'Falsie' (... he said, his eyes cool as they measured the man, his hand never straying more than six inches from his gun ...)


Falstaff said...

JAP: No, no, wasn't trying to be disparaging (notice 'low' was in quotation marks) - my point was that I've read pretty much every Louis L'amour novel there is (many of them multiple times) and enjoyed them immensely (along with copious quantities of J.T. Edson, Oliver Strange, Max Brand, etc.) so that if Neela wants to play the game that way I'm more than happy to give her a run for her money where 'popular' fiction is concerned. I'm not trying to run L'amour down, I'm trying to make the point that one doesn't have to be Tell or Tyrel to be a true Sacket, one can be Orrin and come across as being one snobbish intellectual type, but still be one hell of a hand with a gun. There's this speech Matt Bardoul makes in Westward the Tide when somebody questions him about his knowledge of Saxonian (?) - he makes the point that a Western man is essentially a man from elsewhere. That's it, exactly.

Neela said...

Game, what game? there is only one Game I want to play but he, alas, is not available - is busy making hip-hop gold selling albums.

JAP-da, Walter... is a definite part of a young person's existence. I am only sorry my childhood passed without setting my eyes on Walter's amazing ability to fart (and a farting dog is a Very Useful Critter, let me tell you). Suggest you order it in bulk for all the young persons around you.


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