Concerning Books

It was one of those Facebook thingees … I bit.

1) What authors do you own the most books by?

Arthur Machen, Jeanette Winterson, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Haruki Murakami.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

The Kalevala.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

A post-postion preposition? I’m an editor and a writer. Stretching language is part of the fun.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

I don’t fall in love easily. Most of my love affairs are with characters of my own creation. Kallyr Starbrow perhaps.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?

I read Dune over 40 times in my teenage years. I constantly browse the Tain and the collected poetries of Yeats and Blake, but seldom cover to cover.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?

My weekly Countdown science fiction comic from England, which covered the worlds of Dr Who and Gerry Anderson; and the juvenile science fiction of Patrick Moore.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

In the Miso Soup by Ryu (the other) Murakami. A holiday read that was just too dark and depressing.

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Snow Country (Yugiguni) by Yasunari Kawabata.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

Difficult. Books are seldom for preaching, and ones I value might be for highly idiosyncratic reasons. ProbablyThe Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen. Possibly something by Jeanette Winterson. Certainly some poetry by Yeats or Blake or Gary Synder.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Not for me to say.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

The Tain, The Descent of Inanna. Del Torro doing a Machen story – he skirted the edges with Pan’s Labyrinth. He could do John Constantine (Hellblazer) properly as well, after the abortion Hollywood made of it. Sandman of course: I understand that Death: The High Cost of Living is in development.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

Some things are best left in the imagination. I can’t see many of Hurakami’s novels surviving the translation. Though Norwegian Wood turned out beautifully ….

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

Pass. 🙂

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

What you mean ‘lowbrow’?! Crumb’s adult comics maybe. Michael Moorcock? Philip Jose Farmer’s more pornographic interludes? I’m not proud, I’ve even read Frank Miller. I’m scheduled to read the Dark Horse Colonial Marines comics as part of some research I’m doing on the Alien movies.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind. A dead end, and a difficult dead end.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

Richard III.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

The Russians, with the exception of Flaubert and Rimbaud.

18) Roth or Updike?

Updike, if only out of respect for the dead.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?


20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Chaucer by a country parson’s nose over Shakespeare. Milton? ‘None wished him longer.’

21) Austen or Eliot?

Jane over Mary Anne: she did better parties.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Dickens. Some of the big Russians. Life is too short for Tolstoy.

23) What is your favourite novel?

The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen.

24) Play?

The Orestia.

25) Poem?

Just one? The Tain.

26) Essay?

Bruce Chatwins’ Songlines. More properly it’s a novel of ideas. Ok, Lovecraft’s ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’.

27) Short story?

Anything by Borges.

28) Work of nonfiction?

The Internet.

29) Who is your favorite writer?

Impossible question. Ok, Yeats.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Dan Brown, followed by Stephen King and Anne Rice.

31) What is your desert island book?

Yeats’ Collected Works.

32) And… what are you reading right now?

The House of Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata, On Film (Thinking in Action) by Stephen Mulhall, and a large crop of journal articles in anthropology and culture studies. Gantz, the manga. All on my iPad.

About nysalor

By day, John Hughes is a social sciences editor and e-publisher at the Australian National University. By night he is a roleplaying author, 3D artist, and cognitive anarchist. His digital homepage is

Posted on June 20, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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