Monday, March 28, 2005

The book tag 

What's next? One of those "Chocolate or icecream?" and "What's your favorite color?" 40 Things You Don't Know About Me chain-emails sweeping the blogosphere? (It's chocolate and blue, by the way).

I have been tagged. Michael Totten tagged (among others) Tim Blair, who (among others) tagged Shelly on the Telly, who (among others) tagged Wog Blog, who (among others) tagged me. OK, so here's the questions, and here's the answers.

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

"The Asbestos Pages: Business Directory for Firemen" - all you other paper suckers can burn while I shall inherit the world.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

No (How boring. Or how normal).

The last book you bought is:

"Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriotism and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871" by Adam Zamoyski. Not because he happens to be Polish, but because he writes such fantastic narrative history. Zamoyski tells a fascinating story of the birth of political romanticism, of both the internationalistic and the nationalistic varieties, which over the course of a manic century of revolutions, uprising and wars gave birth to terrorism, nihilism and later communism and fascism. Zamoyski is an iconoclast and myth-shatterer; I can't remember the last time I read so much interesting material between two covers, and needless to say, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

The last book you read:

"Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey" by Isabel Fonseca. A fascinating book about the most marginalized and the most mystifying of Europe's peoples.

What are you currently reading?

"The Middle Ages" by Morris Bishop; an oldie (well, 1969) but a goodie. Everything you wanted to know about the medieval society, if you don't mind very accessible style and no referencing.

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

This is really unfair - only five?

Has to something by Paul Johnson, probably "A History of the American People".

Robert Massie's "Peter the Great" - could this be the best historical biography ever written? (thanks to one of the readers for the correction; I confused my Massies - Robert is a historian, Alan a novelist)

P. J. O'Rourke "Holidays in Hell" - the book that politicized me and turned me into an active, raving right-winger after I picked up a copy for 50 cents at a local pawnshop in 1993.

F. Scott Fitzgerald "The Great Gatsby" - I'm not much of a fiction person* (particularly not "quality" fiction or literature) but this is an old favorite of mine (and if "Gatsby" falls victim of Fahrenheit 451 or gets too soaked in the ocean, then Karl Hasek's "The Good Soldier Svejk").

For the fifth it will be a toss-up between Piers Brandon's "Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s" (because every decade deserves a book like that) and Alexandra Richie's "Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin" (because every city deserves a book like that).

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

Again, a tough one.

Roger L Simon - because it will be interesting to find out what a writer reads.

Stephen Green - to find out what books go well with vodka.

Steven Vincent - to give him a break from blogging about serious stuff like Iraq and the Mid East.

* except Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Phil Rickman, Robert Harris, Alan Furst and Jack McDevitt. On the positive side, blogging always makes you discover new writers, like Roger Simon or Sophie Masson.


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