Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Reading Lamp: reading on a hidden path atop Tunnel Mountain


Thomas, whom I know cyberspacially (indeed, I created the word just to talk about him!), has this irksome habit of not noticing what a thoughtful and kick-ass writer and reader he is.

If the following represents the work of the "flabby-witted and the soft-minded" then please, someone put me out of my sub-moronic misery. Thomas makes me feel like that poor bastard in Flowers for Algernon before the operation (or, even worse, after it had worn off).

Your name:
Thomas McIntyre

What are you reading now? The Psychoanalysis of Fire – Gaston Bachelard

Where are you reading it? I started reading it on a hidden path atop Tunnel Mountain, but as fall creeps in and the snow continues to pile up I’ll have to move to a quiet little spot along the Bow River. I do read at home as well, but roommates are such a distraction.

How did you discover this book? I adore Bachelard (whom I discovered ten years ago after reading a sort of pamphlet by William H. Gass entitled Temple of Texts), whose Poetics of Space profoundly altered my thoughts about the environments we inhabit.

What would your ideal desert island book be? W.H. Auden once suggested the dictionary would be the ultimate desert island book, as it contained all books therein. I am not that glib however, and would take The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton. The rants, the sadness, the passion, the medical advice: what more could one ask for?

Who is your literary boyfriend or girlfriend? (Could be either a character or an author, and if it’s an author, he or she need not still be alive.) Colette, no question. Of course she would eat me up for breakfast, but she did have a wonderful habit of letting her lovers steal her work. My back up is Rosalind from As You Like It.

What writer do you think should be zapped out of history/existence and their works therefore never written? Paulo Coelho. 'Nuff said.

What's your favourite either unknown or underappreciated book or author? I fear that Stanley Elkin may disappear unless his readership grows. His is a major American voice, as significant as James', Faulkner's, or Hawkes's, that remains sadly unknown. He also brings the funny in a big, hard way. I recommend The Dick Gibson Show, The Living End, or The Franchiser. His book Searches and Seizures features a novella called The Making of Ashenden which is notorious for its bear-fuck scene. Can I say "fuck" on bookphilia.com? [Yes. –Ed.]

Do you buy books or borrow them from the library? Either way, what is your favourite place to get books and why? I covet books, and so must buy them. At Woozles if possible. Because it is just plain fun there.

Favourite literary time period? Why? The Latin American Boom. Aside from Elizabethan England, no other literary time period/movement has produced such a copious and sustained variety of genius. Unlike their European and American contemporaries, who developed and explored literary forms, writers of The Boom set out to explode and destroy those same forms with a sort of Baroque glee.

Has a book ever made you physically ill? If yes, which book was it and why did it affect you this way? Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus made my head swim and stomach hurt. I remember shaking and sweating on the D line from Canal so terribly the kind lady next to me asked if she could walk me to the clinic. It made me realize once and for all what a flabby-witted, soft-minded fool I am. I actually had to buy the book three times as I “accidentally” would lose it so I wouldn’t have to prove to my advisor that I was as dim as I’m sure he thought I was. Hey, we’ve all done that. I’m not ashamed.

Remember: if you're interested in being featured on the Reading Lamp, all you have to do is email me at colleen at bookphilia dot com!

3 comments:

fathima said...

omg, there is a place called Woozles! moreover, it is a place i would actually want to go to! i am making a trip this weekend.

also, i feel like copy-pasting the last paragraph to all my phd-er friends.

DreamQueen said...

I think Thomas is out west but I know there's a Woozles in Halifax - either way, a long trip for a weekend!

theduckthief said...

Waah! This man is in Banff! If you ever get the chance to travel there I highly recommend it. It's Canada's only town located in a national park and the view atop Sulphur Mountain on a good day is breathtaking.