Right. Nick and Sarah have both passed on the stick (whatever that may mean), so it’s probably about time I answered.
Q: You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
A: The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis. His first, his best and his shortest (when he wrote incisively about being pervy, male and young, instead of turgidly about being pervy, male and old).
Q: Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
A: Yes. Including, but not limited to, Estella from Great Expectations, Leela from Futurama, and Kate from the Long, Dark Tea-time of the Soul.
Q: The last book you bought is:
A: Feminine Anarchy: Girls Pissing in Public by Amanda James and Paul Compton [*]. The last, erm, written book I bought was Man Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of Beer by Pete Brown.
Q: The last book you read:
A: Yellow Dog by Martin Amis. Definitely not in the Rachel Papers mould…
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag-Montefiore. Comprehensive and gripping, although the writer’s tone is mildly annoying. You don’t need to moralise and hector when you’re describing events as patently evil as the ones being listed here – a neutral voice would work far better.
Also technically Ulysses by James Joyce (see below).
Q: Five books you would take to a desert island.
A1: Ulysses, in the hope of finally getting the time to finish it without getting to page 100, being distracted by something else, forgetting what I’m doing, and having to start again the following year..
A2: The Magus by John Fowles, which I’d like to read several more times than I currently have.
A3: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I’ve only finished the translated version so far; again, the desert-island-ness would provide a strong impetus to read the original properly.
A4: The Book of Laughter & Forgetting by Milan Kundera (sadly I don’t fancy my chances of learning Czech on the island, so this is going to have to be in translation…)
A5: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – total comfort reading.
Q: Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
A: Ryan, Jim Bliss and dsquared, because they’re interesting people and they appear not to have done this yet…
[*] If I said I’d bought this as a present, nobody would believe me, so I won’t bother claiming I did, even though it’s true…