Good Reading : December / January 2007
DECEMBER 2006 / JANUARY 2007 ı goodreading 7 me my shelf i graeme blundell A man of many talents, GRAEME BLUNDELL has in his time been an actor, director, producer and author, and is now a journalist. He has appeared in over 100 plays and more than 40 films, but he’s perhaps best remembered in the minds of Australians of a certain age for his role as Alvin Purple in the seminal 1970s film of the same name. His books include biographies of Brett Whiteley and Graham Kennedy, and he’s now the television critic for The Australian newspaper. Graeme lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales with his wife, writer Susan Kurosawa. ● What are you reading now, and why? Just finishing director George Ogilvie’s inspiring memoir Simple Gifts: A Life in the Theatre, a remarkable story of a boy from provincial Australia so determined to be an actor he endured ridicule and loneliness and a fair whack of starva- tion to become one – and also our most intriguing director. ● Who are your favourite authors? James Lee Burke, James Crumley, Michael Connolly, Loren Estleman. ● Which books have had the most influence on your lifestyle or philosophy? Early crime writers like Raymond Chandler, Georges Simenon, Ross MacDonald and Dashiel Hammett. I’ve never encountered a mean street that I didn’t want to go down. James Lee Burke is important too, someone who never doubted the gift given him but who says there’s nothing like rejection to force you to do an inventory of yourself. ● Which author would you most like to meet, and why? James Lee Burke, a towering talent but a compassionate and, I imagine, totally char ming man. ● Is there a well-known book you never finished or did not enjoy? I still want to finish Proust and Joyce, and Jane Austen was a battle as a student along with Thomas Hardy. ● Which book/s did you love best as a child? I read Ian Fleming at 11 but recall Rudyard Kipling’s Kim at an earlier age, and my father reading Alice in Wonderland. ● What is your all-time favourite book? No all-time favourite, though On the Road comes close. Moby Dick maybe, Heart of Darkness or Blood Meridian. A lot of scariness in there really. ● Do you have a favourite fictional hero or heroine, and if so why? Has to be James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux, or maybe Loren D Estleman’s Amos Walker. I like characters who are throwbacks to another time, unapologetic and defiantly politically incorrect but kind of gallant into the bargain. ● Do you have a favourite film of a book, and if so why? Martin Boorman’s Point Blank maybe, strikingly visual and kinetically sexual with a fractured time-line. A wonderfully violent tale of betrayal and revenge based on Richard Stark’s 1962 novel The Hunter. ● Where are most of the books in your home? On every wall and surface where they can be stacked. ● Looking at the books on your shelves, is there any one category that dominates? Crime, obviously, alongside my wife’s mammoth collection of Indian novels and travel nar ratives. ● How are the books on your shelves organised – or aren’t they? Organisation gives way to impulse piling, stacking and pushing into gaps. Reference books overlap in and out of categories and novels on work tables cry out for review after they have been remaindered in bookshops. ● Where is your favourite place to read? A hotel bath. ● Do you have a favourite bookshop? Abbey’s Bookshop in Sydney and Kill City in Melbour ne.