In my last post I talked about lists and how they generally reflect a mixture of what people like and what they want people to think they like, this post is more along similar lines. Whilst thinking about the way that people look to someone's favourite things as an indication of what sort of a person they are it occurred to me that if I quickly wrote down the first five things that came into my head in various categories I'd probably end up with an interesting insight into what sort of a person I am. I only managed to write to before I started thinking ahead of myself and trying to chose ones that made me look all sexy and intelligent, but these two lists are both as unaffected as I can manage.
I think it'd probably be reading too much into it to say that they are in order of preference, but it might be the case, I'm not sure.
1. The Young Housewife - William Carlos Williams
2. The Snow Man - Wallace Stevens
3. Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas (I'm not sure if this really counts as a poem)
4. The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock - T S Eliot
5. Ode to a Nightingale - John Keats
Favourite Short Stories
1. Babylon Revisited - F Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Disc - Jorge Luis Borges
3. Sonny's Blues - James Baldwin
4. The Dead - James Joyce
5. The Other - Jorge Luis Borges
The reason for the slightly unorthodox categories is probably something to do with the fact that I've been reading huge amounts of modernist poetry and short stories this term.
With the poetry it's all pretty strange stuff, number 5 is the meditations of a man contemplating and coming to terms with the inevitability of his imminent death, number 4 is a man contemplating the seeming inevitability of his decline into mediocrity, number 2 is a weird metaphyiscal pondering which I probably only like that much because I'm impressed that I can understand it, and 1 and 3 are wonderfully tactile poems that I love for no reason I can articulate very well. As to what they say about me, well, they tell you that I don't like old poems, Keats' being the only one not written in the 20th Century, I'm sure that signifies something about me, although I have no idea what.
With the short stories it's a bit different; I read a lot of short stories, much more than I read poetry - I read short stories of my own volition all the time. Most of these stories are examples, fairly arbitrarily chosen, of the work of my favourite writers. I wouldn't say that I'm a huge fan of F Scott Fitzgerald's stuff on the whole, but that story is so incredibly well observed and composed that it deserves that spot. The two Borges stories are probably, combined, about 5 pages long and are little gems of mini narrative. 'Sonny's Blues' - along with 'Previous Condition' and 'This morning, this evening, so soon' - is probably my favourite story discovered over the course of my studies this year. And 'The Dead', well, it's Joyce before he dissapeared up his own arse, and few can beat that. The fact that I put two Borges stories on there probably means that I'm anxious to show that I do read texts that aren't required reading for one of my courses.
On the whole I think it makes me look kinda pretentious, which is hardly surprising, because I am, especially when it comes to books.