I enjoyed this literary meme by Allison and Matt so much that I wanted to do it myself, it just took me a while.
1. What is your favorite passage/line from a book?
Well, my favorite is probably a section of the first chapter of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in which Pirsig attempts to describe what it’s like to be riding on a cross-country motorcycle trip with his son and his friends. But that would be too damn easy for me, so I’m going to switch it up and present another one of my favorites, this one from Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel Neverwhere: (page 64 of my edition)
Varney ran his tongue over the wreck of his teeth. “Are you bribing me?” he asked.
Mr. Vandemar had picked up the morning-star. He was pulling the chain apart, with his free hand [he was holding Varney up in the air with his other hand - TB], link by link, and dropping the bits of twisted metal onto the floor. Chink. “No,” said Mr. Vandemar. Chink. “We’re intimidating you.” Chink. “And if you don’t do what Mister Croup says, we’re…” chink “…hurting you…” chink “…very badly, before we’re…” chink “…killing you.”
“Ah,” said Varney. “Then I’m working for you, aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are,” said Mr. Croup. “I’m afraid we don’t have any redeeming features.”
“That doesn’t bother me,” said Varney.
“Good,” said Mr. Croup. “Welcome aboard.”
I don’t have the book at hand, but the last few paragraphs of the preface to Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman are awesome.
2. What do you consider the best film adaptation from a book? What do you think is the worst film adaptation?
Best: I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but I think I’m going to go with Peter Jackson’s work on the Lord of the Rings. I thought he was very true to the spirit of the texts, even when he wasn’t true to its letter, and I think he did a good job in choosing what to leave out, such as the Bombadil story. Maybe a little too much comic relief in the form of Gimli, but I’m a little biased toward Tolkien’s dwarves.
Worst: Shaara’s The Killer Angels being made into “Gettysburg.” Not that Gettysburg is absolutely horrible, but it’s pretty bad, and overall just a poor match for Shaara’s work, which was well done on all accounts in my own humble opinion.
3. What is the first book you remember reading?
A comic book, Shogun Warriors or something like it if I remember correctly. I credit comic books (and the book-and-record things my parents bought for me) as the reason I learned to read before I started school.
4. Did you have a favorite kids’ book as a child?
Like many, I adored Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. But I also read a lot of more adult stuff as a child…Jakes’ North and South and its sequels, for example, and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. I also read an adaptation of Howard Pyle’s Robin Hood stories, King Arthur stories, my aunt’s collection of old 60′s Tarzan comic books, and I absolutely loved Kipling’s The Jungle Book. I don’t know of anyone besides myself who actually claims to have read The Second Jungle Book. How can anyone not love “Red Dog” or “The King’s Ankus” or “The Spring Running?” It’s available free on the web courtesy of Project Gutenberg for those who would seek it out.
5. What book did you hate reading for a school assignment?
Anything by Dickens. Blah.
6. What is the most recent book you read (or are currently reading)?
I just finished the last novel of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, Confessor. It’s been a tolerably good series, but really the first book (Wizard’s First Rule) was far and away the best. I’m currently re-reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (hence the quote above) and finishing re-reading Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ incomparable graphic novel Watchmen. Wow. Every time I read that one I catch something else that I’d missed before. So much detail layered over and over itself, both in the words and the illustrations. Seriously, go read the Wikipedia entry on it linked above.
7. What book would you most like to see turned into a movie?
Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman, but I don’t think they could ever pull it off convincingly. As an aside, Watchmen is supposedly being made into a movie, but I’m afraid of that one because I’m so completely doubtful that it can be done justice.
8. What book did you cheat and read the “Cliff Notes” version?
I never did, although there were a few I just plain ol’ didn’t read, Hard Times by Dickens and large swaths of Tess of the D’Urbervilles coming to mind.
9. What book would you never read again, no matter how much someone was going to pay you?
Silas Marner. I want that month of my life back.
10. Are you more of a library or book store person?
Library, although it’s fair to say I’ve amassed a decent library of my own through bookstores.
11. Have you tried audio books? Do you like them?
I haven’t really tried them. I doubt I’d like them; I read entirely too quickly to be held up listening to someone talk in real time.
12. Has any movie ever inspired you to then read the book on which it was based?
Not that I can think of…there are a few movies that I later read the books, but in every instance I can think of I read the book more because a friend told me “Dude, read the book, it’s so much better”…so I read it more on the friend’s recommendation than because of the film.
13. Describe a passage from a book that made you cry.
I can’t really think of one that actually made me cry, but several passages from books choke me up or make me upset. Arwen’s final and lonely death in the appendices of Return of the King. Mowgli’s final farewell to the jungle in “The Spring Running.” Miriamele’s attempt to “save” Simon from loving her by forcibly telling him of her seduction by Aspitis Preves in Tad Williams’ To Green Angel Tower. Aslan’s self-sacrifice in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
14. What is your favorite book series?
C. S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy: Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls, and Crown of Shadows. The middle book isn’t as strong as the other two, but the characters of the warrior-priest Damien Vryce (who struggles to maintain his faith and his identity while allied to darkness), and the undead sorcerer Gerald Tarrant (who struggles to maintain both his demonic immortality and his humanity) are my favorites in all literature.
15. Describe your favorite place to read.
I wish I could still climb a tree and read like I did when I was a kid.
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