Good Reading : April 2007
54 goodreading ı APRIL 2007 me my shelf i rhys muldoon RHYS MULDOON graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1989 and has had a busy career as an actor on stage and in television and film ever since. He’s particularly noted for his role as Greg Dominelli in ABC TV’s hilarious series Grass Roots. His most recent role was Cooley in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2007 produc- tion of David Williamson’s iconic play Don’s Party. ● What are you reading now, and why? Destination: Morgue by James Ellroy. Anything he writes is an automatic buy for me. All of his books are flawed, but I don’t care. I like my crime writing brutal. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple. Another crime writer who’s always good. They say that crime readers buy by the kilo. I’m one of them. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow. A drug/crime epic that tears another strip off American hypocrisy. Blood and Oil by Michael Klare. A whole new paradigm for looking at the world and its conflicts over ‘freedom’. Origin of the Speccies by Nathan Jarvis. A brilliant and funny look at the greatest game of all – Australian Football. 1932 by Gerald Stone. Australian history is a long-time passion of mine, and I want to see how Stone, an American with a breathless style, looks at it. So far, so good. Prayer by Phillip Yancey. A mental and spiritual workout book. Granta: On the Road Again. One of the greatest literary ‘magazines’ ever. The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton. Recently re-read. It is hilarious and brilliant and black and troubling (like all good comedy) and is, I would suggest, a very timely book. Fear, sus- picion, spies, madness.Yeah, I read a lot. I blame my dad. ● Who are your favourite authors? James Ellroy: I love his misanthropic eye and ear for rhythm and the musicality of hard consonants and brutal language. His despair and love of humanity are palpable. Helen Gar ner: With Joe Cinque, I think she has cemented her place as a voice you can trust. This is no mean feat. I take a lot of convincing. I feel the same way about George Orwell in his collected letters, essays and jour nals. I think the key to Gar ner is her intellec- tual/spiritual honesty. Hard truths are the ones I want to hear. I want to see the struggle. She delivers. Dostoyevsky: I always read him as a comic writer. Of the blackest kind. I thought Crime and Punishment was, under neath the hor ror, very funny, or rather, terribly funny. I love The Double too, in which a man tur ns up to work and he’s already there, sitting at his desk. The Gambler – pure gold. I’m yet to read a Russian I didn’t love. They all wrestle with life. George Orwell: I’m not that keen on his fiction, but his non-fiction: masterful. William Blake: Fantastically mad, in a sane way. He’s the rock star of poetry. David Peace: Wrote a quartet called 1974, 1977, 1980, 1983. Brutal Yorkshire noir. Once read, never forgotten. Raymond Chandler: He’s sly. He reshaped the sentence. And many others. ● Which books have had the most influence on your lifestyle or philosophy? When I was younger, it was probably Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson. Not the healthiest lifestyle, sure, but I can’t deny it was an influence. Full tilt boogie and suc- cessful artistically, it’s a seductive combo. But now I would have to say (and I realise this will make me sound like a complete whacko) The Bible. I only started re-reading it about six years ago, and, if I’m honest, it has changed me a lot. It’s one of the few books you have to ask the author for help in reading (or at least understanding). I find it similar to my experience with Shakespeare. He was taught to me badly. I then find out he’s a genius. The Bible is beyond genius. ● Which author would you most like to meet, and why? I’d rather not meet most authors, as I don’t want their personality to interfere with their books. It’s like film clips with music: so often seeing the band puts me off. Though I’m guessing William Blake would make for an interesting chat. Oh and Samuel Clemens, you just know he’d be funny. I loved A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I’d like to have met Tolstoy too. Intense, I’m guessing. From The Bible, David, Moses, Luke, John and Paul.Yeah okay, that’s more than one. ● Is there a well-known book you did not enjoy? On the Road. I thought it was desperately over rated. Same with most of DH Lawrence. ● Which book/s did you love best as a child? All the Dr Seuss books. Hardy Boys. The Narnia books (the only ‘fantasy’ I can stomach). Where the Wild Things Are. The Dick Bruna books. Sinbad the Sailor. Countless others. ● What is your all-time favourite book? The Bible. It’s just so jam-packed, and it changes with every reading. How many books do that? ● Do you have a favourite fictional hero or heroine? Not really. The human struggle is the thing. ● Do you have a favourite film of a book? Trainspotting. Because it used the book as a launching pad. And both for ms add something to the other. A true palimpsest. ● Where are most of the books in your home? On a big bookshelf in the lounge room. About 20 by my bed. ● Is there any category that dominates your shelves? I’d have to say crime/true crime/classics. ● How are the books on your shelves organised? My wife has organised them by colour.Yeah, I know. ● Where is your favourite place to read? Bed. Hands down. ● Do you have a favourite bookshop? Gleebooks in Sydney. Readings in Melbour ne. Oh, and Kill City in Melbour ne.