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Old 17th Aug 2004, 11:28   #1
Wavid
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Default More Quick Questions

More quick book questions...

1. What is the best book you have ever read?

2. What is your favourite book you have ever read?

3. What is the worst book you have ever read?

4. What is the best name for a character you have come across?

5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?

6. What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?

7. What is the funniest book you have ever read?

8. Which book has disappointed you the most?

9. What is the best cover design of a book you have seen?

10. What book have you re-read the most times?
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 12:29   #2
John Self
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Quick questions! All my 900-odd posts in the last year or so have been a longwinded attempt to answer these...
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 12:30   #3
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Well, at least I have given it a go...

1. What is the best book you have ever read?

Probably The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.

2. What is your favourite book you have ever read?

It is a toss up between The Rotters Club and A Confederacy of Dunces. I've always had a soft spot for Roddy Doyle's The Committments as well.

3. What is the worst book you have ever read?

Ignoring, for a moment, self-published childrens' fiction, I think the small portions of American Gods I read last year for the book group were enough to qualify for this. Hannibal is dreadful, too. I do try to avoid bad books, if I can, though...

4. What is the best name for a character you have come across?

I'll go for a simple one here, I think. Dudley Smith. The corrupt copper bad guy in three of James Ellroy's novels has such an ordinary, seemingly harmless name. Brilliantly chosen.

5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?

LA Confidental.

6. What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?

The War Against Cliche, or for a 'proper' book, The Isles by Norman Davies.

7. What is the funniest book you have ever read?

A Confederacy of Dunces. Everytime.

8. Which book has disappointed you the most?

Without wishing to rile youjustmightlikeit, it has to be Lucky Jim. I really expected to be rolling around the floor laughing, but instead I was just a little bit bored.

9. What is the best cover design of a book you have seen?

I've put this question but honestly don't have an answer for myself. Ach. Probably A Boxful of Matches by Nicholson Baker, though that includes the back and inside covers too.

10. What book have you re-read the most times?

I suppose if you go back far enough, my Adrian Mole omnibus must have been read loads of times. More recently, probably Wilt by Tom Sharpe. It only takes a couple of days, and provides a nice break in between other books.
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 12:50   #4
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Funny you should mention The Commitments. I haven't read any of Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy, just Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (the least deserving Booker winner of all time - or at least since The Bone People - I felt the same way about it as I do about The Curious Incident...) and The Woman Who Walked Into Doors - excellent. (By the way does anyone remember the four-part TV series Family on which The Woman Who Walked Into Doors was loosely based? Fantastic stuff.) However I did find myself browsing them on Amazon at the weekend for some reason. Recommended?
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 12:59   #5
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All three of the Barrytown books are great. I got the omnibus about 5 years ago, and while it is looking a little tatty now, I can bung it in the post if you like.

They are very funny, and touching in places. None of Paddy Clarke...'s trying to be clever-clever. Well worth a read, and they are quick to get through as well.
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 13:24   #6
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If it's that good I'll probably buy a copy but thanks.

Will try to answer some of these questions. I think they are largely answers which would change quite a lot through time.

1. What is the best book you have ever read?
If 'best' means "...whether or not you liked it" (ie to distinguish it from Q2) then probably something like Midnight's Children or (most of) Ulysses. They're both "good" books but didn't exactly speak to me...

2. What is your favourite book you have ever read?
Probably either Amis's Night Train or Winterson's Sexing the Cherry. Both have survived maybe half a dozen reads intact which is more than I've read any other book. They are both also very short - 140 pages - and literally every page has lots of quotability. But of course there are whole lists elsewhere on the forums that include likely contenders for the title of favourite book.

3. What is the worst book you have ever read?
Again overlooking the self-published - which are definitely the worst - probably some genre codswallop by Thomas Harris or Barbara Vine. Both are actually acclaimed in those quarters but I found them both full of cliché and predictability. Of course in Toby Litt's Corpsing gets special mention for having pretensions to literature.

4. What is the best name for a character you have come across?
I like a lot of Martin Amis's names of course - Self included - like Keith Talent, Clint Smoker and so on. Or Patrick McGrath's modern take on Dickensian naming: Stella Raphael (glamorous), Dennis Cleg (mad), Ratcliffe Vaughan (arrogant cold-hearted husband).

5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?
Er... define a thriller. Not crime? You mean like Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum? Are you serious?

6. What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?
Oo-er, this questionnaire is clearly designed to reveal my blind spots. Perhaps Geoff Dyer's The Missing of the Somme. Or Douglas Adams's Last Chance to See...

7. What is the funniest book you have ever read?
For page-by-page joke value it's got to be The Onion: Our Dumb Century or The Meaning of Liff. In fiction I suppose something like Howard Jacobson's No More Mr Nice Guy or again something by Douglas Adams. I also should put in a word for Martin Amis who is very funny but in a way that is more likely to make you smile for a long time than laugh for a short moment.

8. Which book has disappointed you the most?
Mick Jackson's Five Boys, the worst second novel (where the debut had been a piece of staggering brilliance) ever.

9. What is the best cover design of a book you have seen?
How long have you got? Anything in the Bloomsbury Classic range, anything in the new Vintage Classics range, lots of the silver Penguin Classics, etc. etc. I do love nicely designed books.

10. What book have you re-read the most times?
See 2 above...
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 13:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self
5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?
Er... define a thriller. Not crime? You mean like Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum? Are you serious?
Perhaps I should have said 'genre novel' or something. I chose I crime book...
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 14:38   #8
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1. What is the best book you have ever read?

One Hundred Years of Solitude. Not best in that it's the most loved out of all the books I've read as it's certainly not the easiest of reads, but it is absolutely fantastic.

2. What is your favourite book you have ever read?

Catch-22 and Anna Karenina come out on top but I also loved The Rotters Club and loads of others.

3. What is the worst book you have ever read?

Wuthering Heights springs to mind straight away although I'm sure there are some I hated even more than that.

4. What is the best name for a character you have come across?

Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22.

5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?

I've hardly read any.

6. What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?

The Flamboya Tree by Clara Olink Kelly about growing up in the Dutch East Indies during the Second World War

7. What is the funniest book you have ever read?

Bill Bryson has me laughing out loud, particularly Notes from a Small Island. I did find Lucky Jim very funny though aswell.

8. Which book has disappointed you the most?

Joseph Heller's Closing Time - so much so that I never finished it.

9. What is the best cover design of a book you have seen?

I like the cover of Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveller.... but the new edition of the Midwich Cuckoos was excellent.

10. What book have you re-read the most times?

Catch-22.
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 22:21   #9
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Default Re: More Quick Questions

1. What is the best book you have ever read?
Bleak House. There, I've admitted it to myself.

2. What is your favourite book you have ever read?
Impossible to answer. Only one read through doesn't qualify the above (as it does for question 1.) so I'll go for To Kill a Mockingbird.

3. What is the worst book you have ever read?
Shadowmancer, without a doubt

4. What is the best name for a character you have come across?
Abel Magwitch, from Great Expectations.

5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?
Nineteen Eighty. If they release the whole RRQ as an omnibus I'll nominate that.

6. What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?
As If, Blake Morrison

7. What is the funniest book you have ever read?
The Throwback, probably. The 'cheesegrater' sequence has me in stitches.

8. Which book has disappointed you the most?
Each and every Banks in increasing degrees post-Crow Road

9. What is the best cover design of a book you have seen?
Either Happy Like Murderers or the very first Alma Cogan. Iconic stuff.

10. What book have you re-read the most times?
Hawksmoor, I think.
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Old 18th Aug 2004, 10:36   #10
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1. What is the best book you have ever read?
Crime and Punishment

2. What is your favourite book you have ever read?
A Prayer for Owen Meany

3. What is the worst book you have ever read?
Of those I’ve actually persevered to the end of, probably Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader. It seemed to make what should’ve been a thought-provoking subject utterly banal.

4. What is the best name for a character you have come across?
I have a soft spot for Sebastian Flyte, but my favourite is probably Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley.

5. What is the best thriller you have ever read?
A bit of a cheat this one, but if ‘whodunnits’ come under this heading, then An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

6. What is the best non-fiction book you have ever read?
A toss-up between Claire Tomalin’s biography of Samuel Pepys, and Simon Winchester’s The Surgeon of Crowthorne (which some people argue is fictionalised anyway, but I liked it).

7. What is the funniest book you have ever read?
Probably Stephen Fry’s The Liar

8. Which book has disappointed you the most?
Norman Mailer’s An American Dream. Not that it was bad, but I think I was expecting something earth-shattering.

9. What is the best cover design of a book you have seen?
I’m not big on covers, but I quite like the Flamingo Modern Classics one for Brave New World.

10. What book have you re-read the most times?
The Secret History
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