Book Tag

Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog has tagged me in a game of literary tag so I have to reply (because I’m competitive like that). Take a gander at my answers.

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1. If you had the power to ban a certain book, or certain kinds of books, however productive the outcome may be (think Twilight or Oliver’s Story), even if you knew a huge majority of readers might thank you for it, would you?

No… I’m not one for censorship. That said I wouldn’t mind getting rid of awful zombie fiction. Day by Day Apocalypse/Prey are two titles I gave up reading due to the fact I found them dull (that was their chief crime anyway).

2. What is one book you wish you had written?

After Dark by Haruki Murakami. It mixes the everyday with cool characters, history, a dose of horror and surrealism and it seems so effortless. I wish I could do something like that.

3. You have finally achieved world domination and as new king/queen of the world, you need to fashion yourself a crown. But of course, you’re too cool for precious metals and the like. What would your crown be/be made of?

Since I have to wear this I guess I would go with something soft like silk. It would be floppy and light.

4. Have you ever wondered how a doggie biscuit tastes and wanted to try?

No. No I have not.

5. Is there a book that you weren’t able to complete for whatever reason, but lied about it and told people you did? Which one?

I have done it a few times in the past – Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers… – but these days I’ll just be honest and say I haven’t finished a book.

6. Your choice of instant pick-me-up food?

Toast. The description of toast in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows won me over to toast. That said I quite like it burnt and hard. Hard enough to kill…

7. If there was an appendage you could add to the human anatomy (wings, talons, a tail…), what would it be?

Lynn’s got the right idea – wings. I’d use them to avoid awkward and deadly situations. I also live in a hilly area so the vertical lift would go a long way!

8. If you could go back in time and stop a famous event from taking place, what would it be and why?

I would teleport in to the moment that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was about to be assassinated and take out his assailant. I would be interested in seeing how the world develops after this…

9,10,11. All the book characters you’ve ever loved are people in your immediate friend circle. Who would you turn to:

a) to make a bucket list with you and go all over the world fulfilling each item on the list?  

Tengo from Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. He’s intelligent, tough, logical, and we could talk books and he could keep me focussed on this bucket list.

b) to plonk down next to you on that patch of moon land you guys bought, feel awesome, and somehow keep each other from dying of boredom until the next space shuttle comes to pick you up?  

If I’m going to be stranded with someone on the moon it might as well be someone I’ll enjoy looking at and has practical skills whilst not being so superhuman as to make me feel useless… Noa Izumi – beautiful, charismatic, and cute! I think we’d get along famously. Or at least I think we would because we seem to have similar mornings…

c) when the world thinks you’re responsible for the attack on the entire human race by some random scary evil alien monsters and you are the only one who knows what they want but nobody will listen to you and you need somebody to help you save the world?

Zoichi Kanoe from Biomega. This guy is almost unstoppable and he comes with the coolest AI and bike in sci-fi history. He makes Master Chief, the Terminator, and Robocop look like big girls blouses. Zoichi’s AI Fuyu can assess all of the situations and he can do all of the hard stuff like punching aliens through walls. I’ll just ride pillion and provide all of the sidekick humour while he zips about blowing zombie/alien/biomechanical nightmare monster brains out of heads and we zip around exploding space ships and across the solar system to overwrought thrash metal. After the world is saved Fuyu can just explain what happened to the world. THIS STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS AND IT IS COOL! 😛

A Picture from the Manga, Biomega.

27 thoughts on “Book Tag

  1. Lynn Williams

    Hey Jason
    Glad you’ve answered the questions. I knew I’d get some entertainment – killer toast. “I have a piece of toast and I’m not afraid to use it!!”
    Some good answers. Wings are definitely proving the most popular appendage I think. Although I do like the idea of an extra pair of arms/hands and an extra head! Two books at once – come on!
    I confess I haven’t read any Murakami – I’m sure I had a couple on my shelves though! Unless they’ve been taken (happens quite a lot with my books! – and very rarely returned).
    Lynn 😀

    1. Toast is one of the few things I can cook 😛

      Too many hands/heads might get confusing. It’s hard enough with two/one as it is.

      You haven’t read any Murakami? The man is a genius!

  2. I actually think some of those questions are hard! I would not know what to say (because I can never make up my mind about anything).

    Oh yeah for wings. Absolutely!

    Not sure I understand “pick-me-up food”. Is that the same as “comfort food” (British way of saying it maybe?)?

    Did you read Murakami’s latest? I read Book 1 and 2 only, but wasn’t too taken at all, so I’ve postponed Book 3 until… I don’t know, someone happens to give me a copy of it?

    @Lynn – If want to give Murakami a try, I loved the Wind-up Bird Chronicles. Couldn’t stop reading and read them in the car (and I do get carsick if I read). Same with Norwegian Wood, read the night through till I finished it!

    1. I interpreted “pick-me-up food” as “comfort food” or something easy to make that would leave me happy.

      I’ve read 1Q84 1,2 and 3 – the first two were released as one book while the third was released some time later. I loved the trilogy and all of the characters. Fuka-Eri is so cute and mysterious!

      I loved Wind-up Bird Chronicles – my second Murakami – and Norwegian Wood but I can read After Dark over and over and never get bored.

      1. Hmmm, “pick-me-up” makes think of some food that makes you happy, but somehow I feel “comfort food” has some other connotations (like something that has a history of making you feel better). So chocolate would be pick-me-up and mashed potatoes would be comfort food… Well, I don’t know, I just hadn’t heard anyone say “pick-me-up food” before, I’m just speaking as a linguist here…

        Darn, I hated some of the characters in 1Q84. And some of the things that happened seemed just like to be provocative rather than having any merit in themselves (so, if I’m honest it’s not just that I wasn’t too taken with the book, I really couldn’t stand it very much at all).

        I think I read After Dark but I can’t remember the details (that’s the one with the sister that’s always sleeping, isn’t it?). Those plus What I Talk about When I Talk about Running are all of Murakami’s books I have read… need to tackle more.

      2. Which characters didn’t you like in 1Q84? There were a lot of slimey characters and some questionable situations but by the time I got to the end of the book it all felt like it fit into place and I was glad I read it.

        After Dark is the one with the sleeping sister and the other one who goes to an all-night diner and a love hotel. I really like that one.

        Dance, Dance, Dance and his first collection of short-stories The Elephant Vanishes are really good. You might enjoy Sputnik Sweetheart a lot as well – my first Murakami.

      3. I didn’t like the writer guy. I didn’t particularly care for Fuka-Eri either!

        Maybe the third book will make up for some of it (although it can’t erase some of the situations – as much as Murakami was already trying to justify them in the first two books, I was not buying it), but since the third book wasn’t originally meant to be written but came as a surprise add-on, I felt really annoyed when I finished Book 1 and 2 thinking that that was where it was supposed to have ended! And the paths of the two main characters only cross then?!

        I will probably read all of Murakami’s books at some point, I used to read a lot more before I started the PhD, now I just the same book over and over over…

      4. I felt some of the situations involving Tengo and Fuka-Eri were a bit iffy but I went with it. The third book wraps things up perfectly. I felt elated at the end and not just because I finished a book and can move on as is usually the case but because I was happy with the resolution…

        I just did a search for his books and it looks like I have read nearly all of them… You could also try Hardboiled Wonderland… I remember reading that on train journeys and being gripped.

        I’ve reviewed a number of films where knowledge of Murakami has been a great angle… not least Norwegian Wood itself.

        I’m very busy myself – I have no spare time for video games, just movies and books these days. I’m curious as to what sort of book you are reading over and over…

      1. Nope! That one was just for a one-off seminar I had to teach.

        Not sure if there are that many pictures in it at all, and in any case it doesn’t just cover Japanese comics.

      2. There you go. Why else would someone have a gazillion copies of it (I have the original and 8 translations and 1 revised translation – most actually are in the photo, although you can’t see them all clearly).

      3. When I took a second look at the photo three of them jumped out at me. Is it an interesting book? Which translations do you have? Can you watch the film and bring that into your PhD?

      4. All the books below Ran until Comics in Translation are Death in Venice, plus the one below Comics in Translation (one or two copies are not in the pile, nor is the original, which I have digitally in three different revision stages).

        Is it an interesting book? It’s a classic of German-language literature. Thomas Mann is a must-read author as well – a master of language that doesn’t misplace a single word (a nightmare to translate). The novella is old (it was first published in 1912), but controversial – essentially the story is about an old writer who falls in love with a 14-year old boy who embodies his artistic ideal of beauty.

        I can’t bring in the film (or Benjamin Britten’s opera adaptation), I’ve got enough text to work with already – 25,000 words in the original, and similar or somewhat more in 9 translations.

      5. I had little idea it was so old. I’m not too familiar with German literature. I’ve read some Goethe and Schiller out of sheer curiosity and found them interesting.

        I know about the story because so many film magazines/programmes keep showing the film. I know what happens to the main character too 😛

        Hats off to you for tackling the book with as much energy as you have!

      6. Not particularly well-versed in German literature myself. I have read some, but probably more (and more systematically) Latin American literature because I took some courses for my undergraduate degree.

        I think everyone knows what happens to the main character… the title is such a give-away.

      7. You should read Jorge Luis Borges (various short story collections) and Julio Cortázar (Rayuela – the English title is Hopscotch; and short stories).

        People love Gabriel García Marquéz, but I’m not a fan (mind you, he writes well, I just don’t find his stories very interesting).

      8. Borges has been on my “to-read” list since university. If he comes recommended by you then I’ll have to re-double my lackadaisical efforts in acquiring some of his works.

        Right now I’m reading Laura Joh Rowland’s book Bundori.

      9. If you want a recommendation for Borges, get Ficciones (Fictions), which is his best collection of short stories in my opinion. Alternatively El jardín de los senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of Forking Path), which contains a part of the stories in Ficciones.

        Just finished Kawakami Hiromi’s Manazuru (no Japanese title given in the book!!!!! hate that…), which I read based on recommendation from A Year of Reading the World. Not sure what to read the next, didn’t bring any other book with me. Might go pick up something at the book store or reread either William Dalrymple’s wonderful A Year in Delhi travelogue or Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, which are the only books my Dad has lying around.

    2. Ah, just saw my Dad has Thomas Mann’s Dr Faustus too. But 700 pages of Mann’s extremely dense prose I don’t think is manageable over the next two weeks! Bummer.

      1. Hmm. I like the website – some interesting posts – but I’m not quite convinced by the blogger’s review of Manazuru. I agree that it isn’t the best book and I also agree that a book shouldn’t be celebrated just because it’s written by female author. But I think the criticism levelled at it is pretty much in gendered terms! Why is a book no good if it’s “contemplative prose about the love and family lives of women”?

        I did also want more answers to certain questions, and I wasn’t convinced by some details (why the character, suddenly, after 13 years gets stuck on the topic of her husband’s disappearance again – there isn’t a clear motivation for this; plus her married lover’s objections to not being able to let her disappeared husband go!).

        But the book is definitely more about the prose style, it’s sometimes rather beautiful in English, which made me wonder what it must be like in the Japanese original!

      2. There are quite a few Japanese novels popping up in UK book stores like Shinjuku Shark. Crime novels seems to most popular and the ones I have read I have enjoyed.

  3. I love your answers 🙂
    It’s a nice tag by the way. I haven’t read 1Q84 yet, people are always borrowing it from the library…waiting for my chance to grab it.

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