*hitches up his trousers, squints and dives on in*
1. One book that changed your life.
Huh. Hmm. Changed my life? *twiddles pencil, narrows eyes, ponders* This question sort of demands an epic tale, where upon turning the last page of said tome, I look up with tears brimming in my eyes, heart pounding, and utter some impassioned vow to the universe. Hmm. That’s never happened. The changes wrought upon me by the great books I have read have been gentle nudges, leaving me looking like a samurai sword across who’s steel blade faint tides of metal can be seen. (Ha! Now that’s a flattering metaphor if ever I’ve heard one.)
I think… probably The Forest of Doom, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, a Fighting Fantasy choose-your-own-adventure style book printed in 1983. Not as auspicious as some, but lent to me by my close friend Jamie, and the cause of my subsequent fixation with Sci-Fi and Fantasy, with roleplaying and much more. The pebble that started the landslide, if you will.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once.
I’ve read many of David Gemmel’s early books several times. My copies are old, their covers soft and worn, the pages familiar and the smell comforting. Classic tales of adventure and bravery, redemption and cruelty, of heroes and villains portrayed both in black and white but with a thought provoking spectrum of gray between them. Druss the Legend takes the cake, I think, and smashes it into oblivion.
3.One book you’d want on a desert island
Hard hard hard. The Complete Works of Shakespeare? The Proustian Behemoth? Finnegan’s Wake? A practical little guide to poisonous plants and edible fungi? I would probably go for… Shakespeare. Just ’cause his style is sufficiently varied and his themes universal and yet far ranging and all that other stuff that would keep him interesting long after others grew old and tiresome.
4. One book that made you laugh
Easy! Last night, I turned off the light while chuckling over a twist in David Mitchell’s Number9Dream. I’d say why, but it’s such a delightful little surprise in the middle of the book that I’d hate to ruin it for anybody.
5. One book that made you cry.
A book that made me cry. Hmm. I don’t cry over books, usually. I’ll tear up over some movies, and act all gruff and tough, but books… not usually. Let me think.
6. One book that you wish had been written.
An erudite metaphysical exploration of love and self disguised as an international spy novel with fantastical elements by Jorge Luis Borges.
7. One book you wish had never been written.
Is Mein Kampf too facile an answer? How about The Plumed Serpent by D.H. Lawrence? That one’s still fresh in my mind…
8. One book you’re currently reading.
Number9Dream, by David Mitchell.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read.
The Tale of Genji. I bought it recently, and am already dreading its ponderous weight!