Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book Meme (answers & explanations)

1. Highlander : Connor MacLeod (guessed correctly by St. Dickeybird)
Explanation: There's something beautiful and tragic about his tale. After "dying" he doesn't age, is banished as a heretic, and watches the woman he loves age and die before his eyes. Freddie Mercury and his boys in Queen put it best. Who Wants to Live Forever? Indeed!

2. High Fidelity (the book and the movie) by Nick Hornby: Rob Gordon (played by John Cusack)(guessed correctly by bearette24)
Explanation: This book and movie are dangerous. Hornby gives away all of the masculine secrets of how we deal with and cope with our relationships. This is the most accurate portrayal of men in relationships of any romantic comedy ever. I relate to Rob Gordon as I've been him at multiple points in my life.

3. Bright Lights, Big City (the book) by Jay McInerney
This was a trick question. I relate most to the main character who was never given a name in the book. His friend, Tad Allaghash, repeatedly referred to him as "Coach" and in the movie he was given the name Jamie Conway.
Even though I couldn't really relate to the main character as I've never been a coked up writer living in Manhattan whose fashion model wife has left him, there's something poignant about him. He wants the traditional life, or what he perceives to be the traditional life-- but instead struggles with the reality of what his life has become, in that there's a universality of experience that we can all relate to.

4. Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
Tucker Case
Tucker Case is not a traditional sympathetic character. In some respects he reminds me of the prophet Jeremiah in the Bible. He's a reluctant hero. He's a bit of a louse-- a drunk womanizer who has a holy task thrust upon him by the ghost of a WWII ace pilot (as with all of Moore's comic novels, there is nothing traditional or normal about his plots). And why might you ask has the ghost of a WWII ace pilot thrust this task upon poor Tucker? Well said pilot took a side bet with Jesus in a holy poker game. The side bet-- he wagers that he can start a religion that will one day rival Christianity-- and Tucker Case is his first "prophet." Moore actually has a far better understanding of religion-- or at least a much more entertaining way of presenting it than most theologians and other religious leaders.

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway : Jake Barnes (guessed correctly by bearette24)
Explanation: There's a naked honesty to Barnes that was/is lacking in some of Hemmingway's other characters. The one passage that really nails it for me, "It's a lot harder to be hard-boiled in the night time." We men put up a front of toughness, but that false front is much more difficult to hide behind when we're left to our own devices to sleep in an empty bed and watch the object of our affection walk away.

A Seperate Peace by John Knowles
Explanation: Phineas is the guy everyone likes. He's the popular one that everyone aspires to be. Gene is essentially his shadow. He's just trying to get by and do his own thing and often feels as though he's just being brought along for the ride. There's a darkness to Gene, a darkness that exists in all of us to some extent or another. But in Gene that darkness comes out when he shakes the limb causing Phineas to fall to the ground and break his leg. This is largely about coming to peace with that dark voice inside us.

7. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Answer: Clyde Griffiths
Explanation: Much like Gene in A Seperate Peace, Clyde is the embodiement of that darkness that exists in all of us. He has a tremendous desire to better himself at any cost. Woody Allen's Match Point largely plagiarized the plot to this American classic with it's tale of opportunism at any cost. Dreiser did an excellent job of making his readers care for a character which they really shouldn't feel sympathetic to.

8.Real Genius
Chris Knight (played by Val Kilmer)
Explanation: Chris Knight has a witty, but quirky sense of humor that I love. He snaps off witty one-liners with an ease I could only dream of:
Chris Knight: Kent put his name on his license plate.
Mitch: My mother does that to my underwear.
Chris Knight: Your mother puts license plates in your underwear? How do you sit?
9. Family Ties
Alex P. Keaton (played by Michael J. Fox)
Explanation: Once upon a time I wanted to be Alex P. Keaton. I was young and Republican and I even started to read The Memoirs of Richard M. Nixon at age 10 (I only got about 100 pages into the gargantuan mass of a book that it is). Eventually, I learned to just be myself rather than trying to be a fictitious character on an eighties sitcom... Although I am still relatively young, and while I don't necessarily agree with the current administration, I still am very much Republican (but truth be told, I really miss Ronnie).

10. American Psycho (the book and the movie) by Bret Easton Ellis
Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale)
Explanation: While I love how Bale portrayed him (and I honestly believe no one else could have done the role justice), the Bateman in the novel had a better sense of humor. There's a bit where Patrick is begging a limo driver to "rescue" him from a Christmas party with little people dressed as elves. He implores to the driver to rescue him before the "elves" start "harmonizing." That and when he makes his fiancee eat a chocolate covered urinal cake had me in stitches. Sick and wrong, but man did he ever have great taste in music. Although, unlike Bateman I prefer Genesis earlier artsy material to their later "more accessible" pop material.

Current Music: Quicksilver Messenger Service - The Fool


David Amulet said...

I agree on the American Psycho book--he's much more muanced in there.

-- david

Anonymous said...

Tried to leave Alex P. Keaton the other day but blogger was acting up. You beat me to the punch. at least you didn't want to be skippy..lol.

---lost in Tx

The Phoenix said...

I used to be a high school English teacher and taught "A Separate Peace." I always thought there were homosexual undertones with that book. Maybe it should be called, "A Separate Piece"



You see why I am no longer a teacher.