Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Duck. Duck. Duck. Tag!

So. I got tagged by this beast of a man, and now must put on my thinking cap and go to work.

Number of books I own.

I live in a room which I affectionately call "The Library"; however, the primary vice housed in the library (aside from scotch and tobacco) are movies. I've accumulated somewhere in the neighbourhood of 250 books--mostly theatre and history related tomes. One of them a very awesome book published in the 1968 edition of the 'American Heritage Junior Library' series called 'The History of THE ATOMIC BOMB' given to me by The Armchair Garbageman himself! For years I've ignored the fact that stamped on the cover, in large black letters, is the word 'DISCARD'. The interesting thing about this book is that for nearly the entire time I've had it, there has been a four leaf clover pressed onto the page which has a photo of the first atomic detonation, and reads "I am become Death, The shatterer of worlds". I put it there long ago out of some misguided attempt at symbolism; now it means "Frosted Lucky Charms are magically delicious!"

Last book I bought.

The last book I bought was 'Trawler' by Redmond O'Hanlon. He's this crazy old limey travel writer who jumps on a crab fishing boat in the middle of winter for shits and giggles. He's sea sick by page 20--I haven't read much farther yet! I bought it because I saw him interviewed on The Daily Show and thought, "That crazy bastard sounds like a riot! I've got to check this out!" I generally lean towards non-fiction/biography.

Last book I read.

The last book I read was Errol Flynn's autobiography, "My Wicked, Wicked Ways". In the first 20 pages of this one he gets kicked so hard in the balls by a cow after trying to nurse on its udder that he aborts his attempt at running away and returns home. Even at the lush, naive age of 10 he already knew that someday his balls would come in handy. I love the fact that he called his own autobiography "My Wicked, Wicked Ways"; he knew exactly what people thought of him, and wanted to make a splash before he died--why let everyone else roll in the delicious awfulness that was Errol Flynn when he could just as easily join in while he was still able to hold a drink in one hand and a teenager in the other?

5 that mean a lot to me

Good Night, Sweet Prince

This is one of my all-time favorite books. A very loving, but brutally honest, biography of the famous American actor John Barrymore (yes, she IS his great, great something). I love these 477 pages so much that I've given them as a gift before. Barrymore was the type of guy most of us would love to be: live life to the hilt, following your heart, and damning the consequences. He is much, much more a romantic hero than the legendary gin-sodden stories which outlived him reveal.

You Shall Know Our Velocity

This is the Dave Eggers of "Heartbreaking Work...", except with more rough edges showing. Any book that starts at the end (and death of its main character--written on the book's cover, in case any of you were pouting "He RUINED the book, man!")and proceeds to unravel the history of just how he got to where he dies, is setting an ambitious goal: keep them hooked, even when they know how it's all going to end. This book was perfect for me, because I used to flip to the back of "The Hardy Boys" to relieve myself of all the mystery before allowing the stories to build to a natural conclusion.
My fiancee, E, got my copy signed by Eggers, and insisted that he make the dedication out to my dead silver/white Persian cat Petunia. E and Petunia did not see eye to eye in life; their relationship has improved in death.

The Catcher in the Rye

A book which has no doubt appeared many, many times of similar 'tag' lists, but I cannot deny how important it was to my adolescence. My twin brother, C, and I still refer to it as 'The Bible of our Youth'--which may be doing a sizable discredit to our Anglican Minister back home, but there it is! I recall our English teacher at dear ol' Medway High, whom I bonded with because we shared the same first name, and the day he 'snuck' us some copies out of the English Department lock-up--the book was still banned in our County at the time--and told us to read them. We devoured every word. Like "Sweet Prince", my brother gives copies from 2nd Hand stores to folks.

Black Players: The Secret World of Black Pimps

Let's face it: any book written by a husband-and-wife team on the secret world of black pimping has got to be a classic. In the book's second appendix, entitled "PIMP TALK: A Dictionary of Black Hustling Slang" the following entry is made to explain the expression "motherfucker":

"once a serious curse, now a ubiquitous all-purpose word whose meaning is dependent on tone and context. DAS suppl. Meanings can be entirely opposite, e.g., 'I love that motherfucker,' and 'I hate that motherfucker.' Similar to standard usage of 'bastard.'"

Well. There you have it. Just try and put this book down--I dare you, motherfucker!

Dorothy Parker: Complete Stories

After reading this book, I checked for the hair of the dog that bit me.
She was one vicious wit.
If you've never read any of her writing, you must check it out; and once you have, remind yourself that she was living and writing in the Twenties! This broad of one touch cookie.

Nero Wolfe Mysteries

I love them all. They're bubblegum fro the brain, to be sure, but ,very diverting bubblegum. And very, very entertaining. When I ran from Sherlock Holmes, I went straight into Archie Goodwin's arms.

So there it is. Someone needs to start one of these Duck Duck GOOSE games for movies. My taste in movies wouldn't redeem my taste in books; but a pig loves rolling in its own shit.

Thanks for passing this my way, M.


Anonymous said...

Wow... That takes me back. I think I bought that at a used book sale at a church in Waterloo on one of my first dates with someone named R.

At any rate, B, that's back when you and I and the rest of the boys were watching Trinity and Beyond on a weekly basis.

B said...

You are correct, sir.

That is also back when you were trying cigars, scotches, and general debauchery for the first time.

Look what you've become.

If only R had noticed the signs earlier. . .

Thursday said...

I picked up "And Four to Go" secondhand after seeing a couple Nero Wolfe mysteries on A&E. I admit, it's the cars that got me watching, but the characters had me reading!

B said...


enjoy "And Four to Go"--I'm not sure if I've ever read those ones.
the cbc did some nice radio dramas based on the novels, as well.