Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Literature Survey

I've never done a Friday Five before, but as an English major I can't possibly pass this one up.

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
Literary novels of the 20th & 21st centuries, mostly. Also literary novels from any other time period at all. Also the occasional nonfiction book, most often on the topic of queer theory.

2. What is your favorite novel?
The two novels that come to mind are Gertrude Stein's Ida: A Novel and Howard Buten's When I Was Five I Killed Myself. Three autobiographical books that are not technically novels but come to mind strongly anyway because they're written much like novels are Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Minnie Bruce Pratt's S/he and Andy Warhol's The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Some additional actual novels that come to mind only a little slower are Kobo Abe's Kangaroo Notebook, Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, James Baldwin's Just Above My Head, Amy Bloom's Love Invents Us, Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle, Don DeLillo's Underworld, Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues, Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River, Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man, Larry Kramer's Faggots, Li Yu's The Carnal Prayer-Mat, Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song, Anchee Min's Red Azalea, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, Rebbecca Ray's Pure, Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, Joanna Russ's The Female Man, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (yes, it is enjoyable and you won't wish it were shorter!), Sue Townsend's The Adrian Mole Diaries, Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge, Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy, Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen. (Incidentally, you should never even ask me to name my favorite books unless you're prepared to be deluged with a list this long.)

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)
I have lots of favorite poems, and it's awfully difficult to pick one. Let's see, I'm very fond of "A Woman Is Talking to Death" by Judy Grahn, but that one is rather too long for me to retype it here; I'd be here the whole day long. So I'll just offer you an e. e. cummings one instead:
we lie side by side
my little breasts become two sharp delightful strutting towers and
i shove hotly the lovingness of my belly against you

your arms are
your arms will convince me,in the complete silence speaking
upon my body
their ultimate slender language.

do not laugh at my thighs.

there is between my big legs a crisp city.
when you touch me
it is Spring in the city;the streets beautifully writhe,
it is for you;do not frighten them,
all the houses terribly tighten
upon your coming:
and they are glad
as you fill the streets of my city with children.

my love you are a bright mountain which feels.
you are a keen mountain and an eager island whose
lively slopes are based always in the me which is shrugging,which is
under you and around you and forever:i am the hugging sea.
O mountain you cannot escape me
your roots are anchored in my silence;therefore O mountain
skilfully murder my breasts,still and always

i will hug you solemnly into me.

     —e. e. cummings
4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
There's nothing I've wanted to read for all that long that I haven't already gotten around to reading. There are plenty of books left on my floor that I haven't read yet, but since I haven't read them yet I don't know which of them is most urgently deserving of being read.

5. What are you currently reading?
I recently finished The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu and am now hoping to return to The Golden Age by Gore Vidal, which I started a very long time ago but never got very far into before being distracted by something or other and stopping. It was a perfectly fine book but something just happened to distract me, and since then I've read about ten more books without returning to that one, so I may have to just start that one over from the beginning now.
Tags: books
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