Lev Butts Is a Literary Geek

I find myself on the road this month. I am at a conference in Bowling Green, Kentucky, celebrating the work of Robert Penn Warren. I had every intention of writing the final instalment of my Metafictional Comic Countdown, but when I sat down to write it here in my hotle room, I realized two things:

1. My notes were sitting on my desk half a country away, and

2. Prince died.

Seriously, if God doesn't cut this out, we're all going to have to kill ourselves just hear good music.
Never fear, though, I have a column for you. It's one I have kept on file for just such an occasion.
It's another one of those social media questionnaires that come across my Facebook page periodically.

This one seems particularly appropriate for this site. It is called: 

Are you a Literary Geek?

1) What author do you own the most books by?

I have seven or more by several authors:Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Penn Warren, Neil Gaiman, Joseph Heller, John Irving, Stephen King, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Richard Monaco.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

The Bible (in the South even atheists have multiple copies of the good book) and Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men (I have a hardbound copy of the 1946 original version and of the much inferior and dubious "Restored" edition, as well as several paperback copies of the 1946 version)

Pay no attention to the version on the right.
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Not really, no.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

I don't believe that I am secretly in love with any fictional character, though if she were much older, Neil Gaiman's Coraline would be really fun to hang out with.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children)?

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (because lets be honest: it's really one long novel divided into three books {four of you count The Hobbit}), and Parsival by Richard Monaco

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

The Hardy Boys books

This one was always my favorite.
7) What is the most boring book you've read in the past year?

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Author's Note: This questionnaire was originally filled out some time ago. I have to admit that the most boring book I've read this year is The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
World Enough and Time by Robert Penn Warren

Author's Note: as stated above, this is a bit outdated. I'd have to say Michael Pitre's Fives and Twenty-Fives has that honor now. It is additionally the best war novel I have ever read (and I kind of hate war novels, so that should tell you something. Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy this book. ).

Well, do Pitre a favor buying the book; do yourself a favor by reading it.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Neil Gaiman, Michael Pitre, or me

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Author's Note: Apparently since I originally filled this questionnaire out, Stars has greenlit a television series based on this book and it is currently in production. I cannot wait to see it.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

The Apocrypha

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

T. S. Eliot wearing a very nice suit and offering me a variety of cheese slices for my gastronomic pleasure.

Stay out of my head, Joss Whedon.
14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I am currently reading my way through all the Star Wars novels in chronological order. 

Author's Note: I am still trying to do this, even though Disney made all the novels noncanon two years ago, reducing three bookshelves in my office to little more than glorified fan-fiction.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?

I tried to read Ulysses by James Joyce, but I never made it past page three.

You just keep on being you, Jimmy boy.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I haven't, but I did see a pretty bizarre version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Dad's Garage Theater in Atlanta a few years ago in which the roles were all gender-swapped and the soundtrack was the Morphine album Good.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?


18) Roth or Updike?
John Irving

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Neil Gaiman

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Tom Stoppard

21) Austen or Eliot?

William Faulkner

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

I am missing several pages from my paperback copy of The Sound and the Fury.

23) What is your favorite novel?

I have a few: All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Parsival by Richard Monaco, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman

24) Play?
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

25) Poem?

Brother to Dragons by Robert Penn Warren

If it has a cleaver on the cover, it has to be good.
26) Essay?

"What I Did on My Summer Vacation"

27) And... what are you reading right now?

At Heaven's Gate by Robert Penn Warren; a textual history of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit; "Farmer Giles of Ham" by Tolkien; and Street of Shadows, a hard-boiled detective novel set in the Star Wars universe after Revenge of the Sith.

Author's Note:  I am now reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, The Horror at Red Hook by H. P. Lovecraft, Wracked by Louis Puster, and I am about to begin Caitlin Kiernan's Threshold.

Anyway, if I can stay off the road, and if the good Lord will will stop calling my childhood idols home, I promise to finish my countdown next month.

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glitter noir said…
Interesting list, Lev. And it's good to know I'm not alone in my utter inability to read Joyce. I'll have to look into Gaiman, if I can figure where to start with him. You surprise me, though, as a perfessor-type fella: not one big poet on the list?
Jan Needle said…
I'm not good at long serious books at all. but i LOVED ulysses. trying to read finnigan's wake cured me, tho.
Books by women seem to be a significant omission. Well - I must admit that I tend to read more books by women than by men. But even I love Dickens, Tolkien, E F Benson, China Mieville!

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