Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tedious, Cruddy Meme

Here, for no particular reason, except my hidden agenda, is my contribution to the
bookshelf meme
, slightly modified.

Book That's Been On My Shelf The Longest.
"Baptist Hymnal", edited by Walter Hines Sims. Contains such hits as "How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours" and "There is a Fountain Filled With Blood".

Most likely my father picked this up when the church was changing to a new hymnal. One with less tedious and bloody hymns, no doubt.

I used to play Xmas songs from it. Now it is mostly gathering dust.

Book That Reminds me of Something Specific in my Life.
I can't remember anything specific in my life.

A Book I Acquired in an Interesting Way.
The Ring, by Richard Chopping.

In a coffee shop in the Haight, I once came across an old, yellowing book that caught my eye. No doubt because of the cover.

It remained there for weeks, so I took it home. I doubt I ever would have found it otherwise, but I quite enjoyed it. Beware: it "is a novel that deals frankly and unsparingly with the homosexual world of London. It is not for the squeamish or for those unwilling to face the facts about the desperate underground activities of the gay world." One of those unfortunate facts is that if you like a bit of rough trade, you are going to get a bit of roughing up. It was published in the 1960's, part of the gay paperback explosion, so I'll leave you to guess how it ends.

Chopping lived with the same guyfor 70 years, so I guess the book wasn't terribly autobiographical. The fact that it remains on my bookshelf means I liked it and intend to read it again some day.

He is much better known as the cover artist for the original James Bond books, but he didn't draw the cover for this one.

After reading this anonymous review, posted by none other than Paul Di-Fillipo, I feel I simply must read his other novel "The Fly"!

Book That's Been with me to the Most Places.
Has to be my LAROUSSE Concise French-English dictionary. One never knows when that might be necessary.

The most recent addition to your shelves.
I don't add books to my shelves often. I tend to get them from the library so they will go away after I'm done with them. But for unknown reasons, I did buy What the Nose Knows, which wasn't bad, but which also led me to the much more interesting library books The Secret of Scent and The Emperor of Scent. Both tell exactly the same story, but from different points of view. I highly recommend both, though "Secret" would be tough if you don't like chemistry. "Emperor" gives a very depressing look at the petty in-fighting that really does go on in the research world.

The book whose loss would traumatize you the most.
My collection of sheet music. I know, because I once lost my collection of piano sheet music, and I was very traumatized. I had lots of hard-to-find modern pieces. I still haven't been able to replace many of them.

A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions.

Cruddy illustration

I love, love, love Cruddy! Dark, dark, dark, and over the top, but such great well-observed descriptions of mostly despicable people.

Extra questions.

Book you most want made into a movie.
Easy: The Magus. So I can stop reading it and still find out how it turns out! Seriously, it is a great story, but it is a little slow.

Half-read forever. Finnegans Wake. O.K. quarter-read forever. I used to enjoy challenging myself with tough works. But I'm older and wiser now.

Most read book.

A tie.

Ulysses. Read it three times in my first years in college. Didn't understand a lot of it, but really liked it.

The Little Prince. Read it twice by choice, and then again as part of a French class in high school.

Possible Tie-breaker: Some friends were recently discussing how "The Little Prince" isn't really a book for kids, and used the story of the rose and the thorns as an example. Since I don't remember that part at all, I guess I need to re-read it. And nowadays I could actually understand it easily in French.

Most books by the same author.
Don Webb.

Seven so far. He is one of those exceptions; someone whose books I will actually buy and actually keep. It isn't that he is so great, though I like his work a lot. It is that his books aren't easy to find, and aren't sufficiently appreciated. I don't want to just throw away my first editions of what, someday should be, in any rational world, collectors items.

Everyone should at least read A Spell for the Fulfillment of Desire

Guilty pleasure.I don't feel the least bit guilty about reading them, but I am careful in whose company I'll mention comic books in the same discussion as real books.

There are quite a few I like, but I'll just mention Hate, the Simpsons, Stuck Rubber Baby, and The Desert Peach.

Some writers tell stories better with pictures attached. Deal with it.

Hidden Agenda. It is true. I do have a hidden agenda here, which is to introduce my Goodreads profile. You can subscribe to this feed if you want to keep up with all the exciting reading action going on in my world.


Anonymous said...

The Ring sure looks good. Can I borrow it? You are welcome to borrow "Fun House" if you like graphic novels. or graphic bios, as it were.

Anonymous said...

I'm exploring your goodreads site and enjoying the book trivia game. I am at 6/7 right. Should i quit now?

Ed said...

The Ring sure looks good.

It's the cover isn't it? Admit it.

I'd love someone else to read it to let me know whether it really is worth re-reading some day.