6 questions we always ask: Arthur Phillips, author

I’m pretty honored any time anyone answers the 6 questions we always ask. But then there are the people who answer the questions whose books (or music in the case of Chris Mars) have become those cornerstones that help me define who I am as a person, Arthur Phillips wrote one of those books.

His novel The Song is You was one of the best books I read in 2009 (Christa too). It’s the kind of book I would be if I were a book. It’s a novel that marries rock & roll with literature in a way where neither of them get shorted. And the reading Arthur gave at the Minneapolis Library with special guests Chan Poling and Steve Seel was the best reading I’ve ever attended.

So yeah, I’ve got that racy heart, permagrin fangirl thing going on right now as I type. ARTHUR PHILLIPS!

He’s got a new book out The Tragedy of Arthur (which I’ve just started reading) and right now he’s answering our questions.

P.S. Arthur grew up in Minnesota, in case you didn’t know that.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
The Name of the Rose, because I read it when I was 15 and loved it, and so I was curious how I’d like it now. The farther I get into it and the more tempted I am to retreat, I wonder if I really read it when I was 15. If so, how the hell did I? Just watched the movie on a flight and am REALLY tempted to retreat after that. Oh, Sean Connery, what happened?

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?
That’s funny, I’ve had crushes on singers and movie stars and even characters in movies separate from the actresses who played them, but it’s hard to think of a character in a novel I’ve fallen for. I can’t say I’d really want to bed down Mrs. Dalloway. . .

If your favorite author came to Minnesota, who would it be and what bar would you take him/her to?
Me and Georges Perec hanging out smoking Gauloises and discussing his books at the old Loring Cafe. I know it’s gone, but so is Perec. . .

What was your first favorite book?
I think something happened with me and The Three Musketeers when I was about 11 that was different from all my reading before that. . .

Let’s say Fahrenheit 451 comes to life, which book would you become in order to save it from annihilation?
This is tricky. I figure a lot of my favorites will have other protectors, so I should jump in for a title that might not otherwise get any defenders. How about the obscure but brilliant and hilarious 1955 English comedy Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis? Unknown in the US but spectacular.

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die? It’s never too early to plan for death, I suppose. So. . . will I actually wrestle with Finnegan’s Wake? I don’t know. . . I just don’t know. We’ll see what happens when the bad blood work comes back from the lab. . .

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