YAY!!! Adam Selzer has stopped by my blog to play 20 Questions! OK — everyone go out and buy his book or force your library to order a copy today like I did!
1. Bookmarks or dog ears?
Usually bookmarks, but never REAL bookmarks. Usually a receipt, a ticket stub, a comic strip I cut out, or something like that.
2. Dust jacket on or off when reading a hard back?
OFF! They just get in the way.
3. Favorite author?
Charles Dickens and Daniel Pinkwater (tie).
4. Favorite genre’?
I’ll go with mystery here. But all writing is mystery writing.
5. What is the best book you have read in the last year?
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. I always feel like that guy can see right through me.
6. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Out of my own books, probably I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, which was about a spelling bee and was based on Watergate. I’d also love to see how someone would adapt THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY into a movie.
7. If you could only take one book with you to a desert island, which would you bring?
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. It’s a huge 18th century novel that makes very little sense – large sections are written in dashes instead of letters. Tristram himself is hardly even in it, and spends half his time telling dirty jokes. It’s silly as get-out, but it would keep me busy for YEARS trying to figure it all out. That’s what I look for in desert island stuff. There are plenty of books that I enjoy more, but none that would keep me occupied so long.
8. What book have you read that you think is overrated?
I’m going to plead the fifth here! I don’t want to make anyone mad. I mean, I get mad if people tell me Dickens is overrated, and he’s far too dead to care. So if I say Twilight is overrated, I can only imagine what would happen.
9. What are you reading right now?
Memos from Purgatory by Harlan Ellison. All about teenage gangs in the 50s – the sort of greaser gang who used to stomp around my neighborhood. Some of the old timers are still around, still fighting the same stupid fights from 1954. Nice guys, really, but I sure wouldn’t want to borrow money from them.
10. What is the last book you bought just for the cover?
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner
11. What is the last book you received in the mail?
A book about Charles Dickens’s reading tours.
12. What is the number of books you own?
Ack! We have about 8 bookcases full, plus other books shoved into nooks, crannies and sock drawers. I couldn’t begin to count them. I’m not the world’s greatest counter. That’s part of why I make fun of accountants so much in my books – because I’m jealous that they can count so well. I’m a bully. I know it.
13. What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
Follow the Monsters, a Sesame Street book. But there was a “chapter book” version of Peter Pan that I read without an adult looking over my shoulder when I was six, and then at seven I read “Superfudge.”
14. Do you have a favorite place to read?
On the brown line El trains in the winter when it’s snowing.
15. What is next for you, publishing-wise?
As far as I know, my next one will be a book called TANGLED UP IN BLUE (the title is tentative; at other times it’s been known as DEBBIE DOES DETENTION). It’s a romantic comedy about a girl who tries to get over an unrequited crush by embarking on a “holy quest” with a couple of misfits who have invented their own religion.
16. Do you have a favorite place to write?
Sip Coffee on Grand Avenue here in Chicago. I go there every single morning. I can’t write at my own desk.
17. Do you have any pets ?
18. How does your garden grow?
Oh, badly. After Michelle Obama put in a garden at the White House, I thought “what a great idea!” and bought some planters to put a victory garden out on the fire escape behind the apartment. It turned out to be more of a defeat garden than a victory garden. All I got was weeds. Plenty of farmers out there can grow vegetables faster, cheaper and better than I can!
19. The last thing you Googled?
Kirok the Besotten. I was trying to get track names for this CD of a guy doing raps about Star Trek, conspiracies, and marijuana. I met him at a filk convention a few years ago. Quite a character. I think he went by Reverend Brother Jack Musick, and was a proponent of the theory that George Bush and other world leaders were shape-shifting reptiles. I’m completely serious. But the man could rap.
20. What makes you cringe?
Sarah Palin’s twitter account.