Tuesday, April 12, 2005

On Not Getting Me Started

I have recently noticed that I have been indirectly challenged by an old political sparring partner, Peter Cuthbertson of Conservative Commentary, to furnish answers to various book related questions that are making their way, chain letter stylee, about the internet.

Well, the problem with these things is never getting me started, it's getting me to shut up again once I've worked up a full head of steam. So here goes...


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

I can't actually remember what happens in Farenheit 451, beyond the fact that the firemen burn books and that Farenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper combusts. On the assumption that I'm going to get frasped, I'll go for "I'm not the only one" by George Galloway. I'm not a great fan of burning books, by and large, but if it's gotta happen I can think of few worthier candidates. If I was going to escape in some sort of shock manoeuvre (honestly can't rmemeber what the hell happens in that book) I'll go for Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.

UPDATE: Having poked around a bit more I see that it's definitely a case of which book do you want to not be burned - so Thucydides. I think. Though a single volume general history would probably be more appropriate. Arrrgh!

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I don't think so. Ply me with expensive drink, however, and the grotesque shameful tuth may out...

What are you currently reading?

I've got a few things on the go at once, to the detriment of all. Until very recently I was reading Anthony Read's The Devil's Disciples, which I found interesting, if not necessarily the sort of thing I'd want to cite in essays. The problem was that it's just too bloody long - 900 odd pages. I got 350 pages in and was enjoying it but just ended up thinking, "Christ, it's going to take me the best part of a fortnight to read this cover to cover and I've got more important things to do with my time". I will return to it, but it's on the back burner for now. Anyway, as things stand I've ploughed through Wolfgang Schivelbusch's The Culture of Defeat (of which more later in a different post) and I'm now dividing my time between Carol Reardon's Soldiers and Scholars, Michael Palmer's Command at Sea and Andrew Mango's The Turks Today.

The last book you bought is:

I actually got six (eek!) books last Saturday. Two, George Crile's Charlie Wilson's War and The Road to Martyrs' Square by Anne-Marie Oliver and Paul Steinberg, were from Borders. The rest, Anthony James Joes' Resisting Rebellion: The History and Politics of Counterinsurgency, Steven Ozment's A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People, Stephen Cohen's The Idea of Pakistan and Frank Kitson's Warfare as a Whole (second hand) were from Amazon.


Five books you would take to a deserted island:

I don't know. I've found it difficult to finalise my choices on this one. I'll stick the answers up in a seperate post when I finally make my mind up.

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

Well if Michael and/or Mark want to set out their choices, they can go for it - I don't doubt it would be very interesting. Otherwise, I'll go for Phil Carter, Mark Grimsley and Ross Douthat for the individual expertise they would no doubt bring with them, though I'm not going to pester any of them into doing it.

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