Monday 19 January 2009
The Reading Lamp: the voice of William Gibson in Jason's head
Jason's cat is clearly smarter than my cats, all of whom like books only for either lying on or chewing. The question is: is Jason teaching MistyBob to read, or vice versa?
Oh. Gulp. Let's not talk about vices. You'll see why momentarily.
Your name: Jason Doucette
What are you reading now? The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.
Where are you reading it? At home.
How did you discover this book? It was making the rounds earlier this year in the news circles I follow.
What do you think of it so far? I'm about halfway through it, but it got me interested right away with Umberto Eco's concept of the anti-library - it's more valuable to have a room full of books you haven't read than a bunch of books that you have. The rest of the book is good too, but it's the kind of book that you have to actually read every page of, so it's taking a while compared to business fluff.
What would your ideal desert island book be? Probably not a cookbook.
What writer do you think should be zapped out of history/existence and their works therefore never written? Wow, that's cold. Unless you mean that then I could write their stuff and take all the credit, which is still pretty cold, but possibly more lucrative. In my case, it'd be a waste. I'd start writing from memory and by midway through chapter two there'd be robot zombies everywhere making ice sculptures or something. And no, the author in question wouldn't have ever written about zombie robots or ice sculptures. In summary, my works should probably never be written, but I'd like to stay in existence, thanks.
What book would you like to put into a mine shaft and blown up? Why? The only reason I can think of would be to see what would happen, in which case any book would do, though I'd probably pick a heavy one.
What's your favourite either unknown or underappreciated book? As far as I know it's out of print, but F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack Up is always nice to flip through every few years, if only for the line "she was lovely and expensive and about nineteen."
Favourite childhood book? I was all about the Hardy Boys when I was a kid.
Do you buy books or borrow them from the library? Either way, what is your favourite place to get books and why? I like the library, but I've found I have this period of time in between acquiring a book and actually reading it that can span months, which doesn't work well with time-based loans. I ended up having to buy The Black Swan because I couldn't finish it in time and there was another hold on it so I couldn't renew. I still get a lot of my books from the business section of remaindered book shops, used book stores, and hybrids like BMV. My favourite place to get books is still online, since it fits my schedule, but I've been trying to get more stuff from local businesses lately.
How do you decide what to read next? Whichever book on my shelf is making me the maddest for not having opened it yet.
Favourite author? Why? For non-fiction, it's Seth Godin, both for his insights and because he knows how to make thin books that work. For fiction I still keep coming back to William Gibson. When I read a new book of his I race through it, but when I'm re-reading I like to use a drawling voice in my head like he uses when he does a reading. Reading in another voice somehow makes it into a new book.
Has a book ever made you physically ill? If yes, which book was it and why did it affect you this way? Oh yeah! It was some short story collection by Piers Anthony, I was maybe 12 or 13, and I think the story was called "On the Uses of Torture" or something. It was all about this guy getting tortured by aliens, and there was about a page dedicated to a description of one of his testicles being squashed flat in a vice. I remember it being really detailed, like Creative Writing class detailed. Why'd it make me ill? Uh, I was 12 or 13 and it was about nads in vices.
Do you prefer hardcover or softcover books? Why? Hardcover at home, softcover if I'm travelling or commuting. Hardcover usually is easier to read, with better layouts etc, but it's also bigger and bulkier and heavier which doesn't work as well when you're on the run from the cops, uh, for instance (ever notice that the criminal code of Canada is available in paperback?)
Remember - email me at colleen at bookphilia dot com if you'd like to be featured on The Reading Lamp, or if you'd like to suggest questions to add to the list from which interviewees choose!