Pulp.net - Iain Bahlaj

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November 2008
My Literary Top 10 by Iain Bahlaj

Top 10
Best life-affirming book: 'Fup' by Jim Dodge.
Amazing, heart-warming (in a good sense) tale of man, grandson, and duck. If I weren’t so tight-fisted, I’d buy a copy for every person I liked.
Best book for destroying all faith in life: 'Steppenwolf' by Herman Hesse
Beating 'Enduring Love' and 'The Blind Watchmaker' by a whisker. A happy ending is no comfort when preceded by anything as dark as da wolf’s minging thoughts.
Author I’m supposed to like, but can't: Michael Moore (aka Fat Dog Mendoza)
Smug, self-righteous. Predictably, boringly lefty. Not as intelligent as he thinks. Portly. American — could've been Mark Thomas until I said American, ih?
Author I’d like to see presented with all kinds of awards: Michel Houellebecq ('Whatever', 'Atomised').
Miserable, contrary, black sense of humour. My big literary crush. French, but nobody’s perfect.
Book to move you to tears, if you cry at books: 'The Virgin Suicides', by Jeffrey Eugenides
Sad, but melancholy/slightly-beautiful, not mind-decaying/morbid like 'Steppenwolf'.
Celebrity I’d most like to ghostwrite for: Tara Palmer-Tompkinson.
Because she’s great and I love her.
Fave TV programme: The Sopranos
Even better than The Simpsons (recent ones, anyway). The writing is subtle, the lines are amazing. If they get rid of the shrink it’ll be perfect.
Favourite few sentences from a book which I’d love to have written.
'�the awfulness of what I heard. It was like rain on a tin roof, but that wasn't it. It was her blood, pouring down on the bonnet, where she went through the windshield.' From 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' by James M. Cain.
Best book written by a woman: 'Play It As It Lays' by Joan Didion
Beautifully bleak, making a good case that the world is going to Hell; which it is, and as clear and concise as a Fox’s glacier mint.
Book that is a huge waste of time, though it makes a good weapon: 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace.
Some of the best descriptions of psychotic depression, but that’s it (and these descriptions are hardly enjoyable to read anyway). 1000+ pages of show-off, with footnotes.
Iain Bahlaj lives in Fife. Short stories: in various magazines.
First novel, Tilt, published by Pulp Books, in a.g.b-stores now. Currently stacking shelves night-shift. Mark Lawson called his Smartprice Beans 'the first example of truly modern art' but Tom Paulin said of his Red Bull sidestack 'totally absolutely awful'.