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March 28, 2005 // by admin

Not sure where or why this idea originated, but there’s some sort of quickie lit-quiz bouncing around the blogosphere, and evidently ’tis my turn to reply.  Since I’ve been “tagged” by superblogger Arthur Chrenkoff, I shan’t question the particulars nor tarry long ere I respond.    Besides, I’m a sucker for surveys.

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Since Tim Blair beat me to Michael Moore–and I figure time and historical neglect will justly consume the collected wisdom of Ted Rall–I should be mature about this and answer something like Protocol of the Elders of Zion or Mein Kampf orThe Turner Diaries.  But the childish part of me wants to say James Joyce’s Ulysses, just to spare future generations of undergrads the horrors of reading that inexplicably overrated novel.

Unless this question means which book do I want tomemorize.   In that case, the Odyssey–Homer’s Ulysses.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Sure.  Mary Jane Watson.  I mean John Romita’s Mary Jane, going back to the “Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot!” era all the way to today.  Forget that pale washed-out Kirsten Dunst.  She couldn’t even hold a candle to Gwen, let alone the real MJ.  Oh wait, this question was about a fictional character, wasn’t it…?

The last book you bought is:

Edwin Black’s Banking on Baghdad, as I prepare for my next trip to Iraq.  Other than Middle East-oriented tomes, I think my latest purchase was George Marsden’s biography of Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards.

The last book you read:

The Edwards bio and a 1992 history of Shiite revolutionary movements in Iraq, the name of which escapes me.  And yes, I think there are thematic connections between the two.

What are you currently reading?

I have a terrible habit of serial-reading.  At the moment, I am immersed in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI, Part I, Ross King’s novel Domino, Gavin Young’s Return to the Marshes, Gibbon’sDecline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and one or two other books about Arab and Islamic history.  Usually I finish everything, given enough time.

Five books you would take to a desert island.

Besides wilderness survival guides, textbooks on hut- and ship-building, a first aid manual and Signal Flares for Dummies? Besides, as well, the Encyclopedia Britannica (1968 version), Shakespeare’s collected works and the Bible?  My quintet would be:

Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow
Virgil’s Aenead (+ my Latin dictionary, is that cheating?)
Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil 
The I Ching 
and a collected volume of Marvel’s Silver Age comics, preferably selections from Ditko’s Spider-Man and Kirby’s Thor and FF–especially FF 48-50, the Galactus trilogy.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Chester, because he’s been kind enough to allow me to contribute to his blog;
Jeff Harrell because he did a bang-up interview with me forITRZ (as did Arthur); and
Solomon, because I like his site’s graphics almost as much as his viewpoint.  Have fun, guys.

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