Page Turner: PAUL

panamaplamb PAUL’s moustache >PAUL’s beard.

‘Watch the company you keep’ was some of the best advice I was ever given. In most cases, I was being warned of danger. But I took it as a guide to learn from the people closest to me, rather than be consumed by paranoia. PAUL is one of those friends you keep. For instance, before we met in high school, I already knew who Eminem was from daily visits to Fat Beats record store, and Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito’s WKCR radio show; the rest of Staten Island’s Curtis H.S. eventually knew who Slim Shady was from PAUL’s mixtapes of Eminem material. He has a trusted taste in music; so much that I credit him for my introduction to the Smiths and Morrissey. Even after graduating college, feeling bitter partly because I dropped my English major (in favor for Mass Communication), PAUL’s suggestions of prolific authors helped pique my interest in books once again. Here we discuss some of his personal likes and dislikes, plus a few reading suggestions.

name: PAUL

occupation: Asst. Manager, Marketing for Penguin Trade Paperbacks & Classics

location: SoHo, NY

favorite author: Besides Wilde, I dribble over Thomas Boswell, Jeffrey Sachs, Bill Buford and Natsume Soseki. Have you heard these people?

name an author with a distinct musical taste. Well, Nick Hornby is ‘fascinated’ with music, judging by his ‘High Fidelity’ book’s success. I am still amazed at the brevity of Hornby’s success, and at the speed of his decay, and by how people who know him never seem to say anything nice about him. But, weren’t we made to be this way? A page jockey who has given us a look into his mind and functionality, though the prose sometimes feels like a raw potato—a bit under thought as he relies on the music jumping into your ear to relieve the eyes.

fiction or non-fiction? Non Fiction. Since you so politely ask, in my spare time I waltz around sunny Manhattan looking sultry, overeducated, and kinda deco (whatever that means). I consider it my only real purpose in life to look as bored as humanly possible. I’m SO old-fashioned.

name the last book you picked up on the street. I guess it was Octavio Paz’ ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’. It’s not everyday a Nobel Prize winning Author is staring at the BQE looking lonely and disheveled. I had to give him a home. A reference point of human squalor, Paz’s family irked all the little square priggish men who controlled the Mexican Government at every level, and to whom the Paz’s meant only one thing: trouble.

what story would you choose to create an alternate ending? I would not pretend to know any reasons or background details as to endings, but the happiness these books give me seems, now, to be everlasting – even if this is a novel read with a lop-sided grin, then please hook me—Ethan Frome is a book in which I wanted a different ending, but it was brilliant in it’s indelibly saddening close. Ethan Frome’s dismal dignity placed him beyond the reach of crassly communal success. Only a similar mental anguish could steer the pen of Edith Wharton, who appears to play for marx-ist laughs, but whose lyrical take on sex cries out like prison cell carvings.

what’s the worst movie adaptation of a novel? Probably Cold Mountain. If that movie is a work of “art” then I’m Miss Brazil 1970.

what blog should get a book deal? perch uneasily on the fringes of all things bright and avant-garde. Being the only sensible recipe for the culturally damaged, theirs is a name destined to be in everyone’s mouth, should justice prevail. Knowing that it very rarely does, these boys are out to at least stretch their patience with the world to the very elastic limit. And it is never denied that their writing is unlike almost anyone else’s.

what kind of reading is best saved for the bathroom? Usually something as rote and perfunctory as PEOPLE or US can be found in the ‘washroom’ of a girl or salve to the masses, of which I sometimes indulge, but books with short and stout meaning fed from teaspoons with rich but direct points can compel even the most accomplished bearer to commit to the text, with the flush secondary. Then again, why race against yourself?

who would narrate the story of your life? Thomas Pynchon would be a dream. “Inherent Vice” by Pynchon* has virtually no competition as the most exciting fiction book of the year and it shows more potential than just about any other release in recent memory. There is no ‘holier than thou’ nonsense. Pynchon is captivating without being tiresome and every word is laced with his own brand of sardonic humor.

Eva Mendes’ speech, too, is warm to the skin. The voice teeters with a knowing smile, but the heart is on the gravel as she tells us so much more than what she literally says, a double-tier of sexual urgency.

*He narrates the trailer on YouTube for his new book, if you dare to listen. CLICK HERE

what excerpt should a brand print on a T-shirt?

“Talent borrows, genius steals” – O. Wilde

quote two musicians that appear to be well-read. Perhaps I’d have to delve into (of course) Bob Dylan, as he’s provided inspiration to most all whilst having been exposed to the best as he was setting sail in music without oars, double-sail with words prepared. Thus it is written:

“A song is anything that can walk by itself”

Next the irreverent Patti Smith, whose personal gratification isn’t everything, after all. Patti Smith was, of course, punished for knowing too much, but she provided a world and a journey to those who cared to listen.

“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth”

if writing was a sport, which would it be? In this modern time, the boxer is grafted to the author moreso than anyone else. In great measure, a book’s success is judged by those alongside it, struggling to beat a competitor and emerge on the right side of the New York Times’ Bestseller List. 12 Rounds, but TKO leaves you along the sidelines, broke, battered and wearing enough makeup to last you through the winter. The book buyers declining in favor of American Idol or Amateur Hour on FOX that consists of that of a confused struggle to nowhere. I guess real historians will look back at this fight and conclude that there were no challengers to the JK Rowlings and Dan Browns of the world, that it’s been a lightweight decade in the book world.

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