Tony Nesca answers 13 questions in a Booker's Dozen.

 
TPQ: What are you currently reading? 

TN: 
Patti Smith, Year of the Monkey – I’ve always been a fan of her music, but I’ve become an even bigger fan of her writing. Beautiful writing, sort of quiet punk feel, wise, funny, great short-sentence, rhythmic style. 

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read? 

TN:  Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller. This book changed my life. My writing life, my personal life. I couldn’t believe what I was reading – I couldn’t believe that you could write like that, in that style, and about that subject matter. I paced back and forth like a madman, it screamed at me, it pulsed with life, you could practically feel it beating in your hands like a heartbeat. Nothing like Henry Miller, to this day, nothing like it.  

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

TN: 
Alice in Wonderland was the 1st book I remember cherishing. I saw it simply as a children's book and didn't get that it was actually a book with all sorts of psychedelic statements about life and the inner working of the mind. That's what makes it so great - a child can dig it, and an adult can dig it for entirely different reasons. I think I'll try my hand at something like that.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

TN:  
J.R.R. Tolkien, but more as a teenager, not a child. It’s still the only fantasy author I like, and the only fantasy author I’ll read. 

TPQ: First book to really own you?

TN: 
The first book that really owned me, that made think and wonder at how someone could write with such an incredible, unique, spare style was The Old Man and The Sea, by Papa Hemingway. How someone could actually have so little on paper but yet say so much, is what results in a masterpiece.


TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

TN: 
Henry Miller – my second favorite is distant and changes from month to month. When Miller gets going it’s like a waterfall of ideas and words and images and street-corner happenings and this maelstrom of electricity starts running through your head, it’s unstoppable and addictive. Not to mention the courage – to write what he did in the 1930’s is beyond having guts, it’s astronomical courage, it’s otherworldly. If it wasn’t for Miller, Charles Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, all the Beats and countless others, including myself, wouldn’t exist. Hell, a whole style of writing wouldn’t exist. 

Evelyn Lau immediately comes to mind – Canadian writer, became famous with her Runaway – Diary of a Street Kid book. A powerful story of living on the streets and doing whatever is necessary to survive, it’s got a real edge, some serious darkness to it, but in the end, she still manages to make it feel like there’s a way out, like hope is not lost. More incredible when you realize she wrote it as a teenager. Wild stuff! Great poet as well.  

TPQ: A Preference for fact or fiction?

TN: Fiction, hands down. But I do read a lot of biographies of writers, artists, politicians, musicians. I’ve read Physics for Dummies, lots of Psychology books, Carl Jung, Freud, and so on. 

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

TN: 
There are a few of those books that impressed me. The Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons was superb - not an easy subject matter about a very complicated man. I read a biography about Led Zeppelin by Mick Wall, When Giants Walked the Earth, which was pretty mind-blowing. I always found Jimmy Page to be an intensely interesting and highly intelligent individual. And then there was Memories, Dreams, Reflections, autobiography by Carl Jung, the great psychologist and philosopher, which I read in my 20's. It was one of those rare books that changed my life and I've been reading and studying Jung since then.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

TN: 
Anything from that Game of Thrones series – Harry Potter books – not my thing and I am being extremely restrained in my disdain.  

Well, I read him as a child, but I could not stand him as an adult, and I categorically refuse to read him ever again– Stephen King. To me, his books are the equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies, absolutely infantile ideas - I mean, a possessed car, are you kidding me? He comes up with ideas that a ten-year-old would come up with, and somehow it sells 20 million copies. Do not get it. 

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?

TN: I’ll have to pick a few – Tristessa by Jack Kerouac, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung, The Pornographer’s Poem by Michael Turner. 


TPQ:
 Last book you gave as a present?

TN: 
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. 

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

TN:  
Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez – it’s an ongoing comic book, graphic novel, but it is literature of the highest degree. Always wanted to see it made into a movie, like other great comics have been – American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, etc. 

TPQ: A "must read" you intend getting to before you die?

TN:  
I don’t really have any must-reads – I feel like I need to be surprised, like I need to discover something new. There isn’t much contemporary stuff I want to read, and I’ve read so many of the old books – maybe I need to read more of the great 19th century French writers – Maupassant, Sand, Dumas, etc. 

Tony Nesca co-runs Screamin' Skull Press and has written thirteen books of prose and poetry. His latest work is Word Music.

Booker's Dozen @ Tony Nesca

Tony Nesca answers 13 questions in a Booker's Dozen.

 
TPQ: What are you currently reading? 

TN: 
Patti Smith, Year of the Monkey – I’ve always been a fan of her music, but I’ve become an even bigger fan of her writing. Beautiful writing, sort of quiet punk feel, wise, funny, great short-sentence, rhythmic style. 

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read? 

TN:  Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller. This book changed my life. My writing life, my personal life. I couldn’t believe what I was reading – I couldn’t believe that you could write like that, in that style, and about that subject matter. I paced back and forth like a madman, it screamed at me, it pulsed with life, you could practically feel it beating in your hands like a heartbeat. Nothing like Henry Miller, to this day, nothing like it.  

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

TN: 
Alice in Wonderland was the 1st book I remember cherishing. I saw it simply as a children's book and didn't get that it was actually a book with all sorts of psychedelic statements about life and the inner working of the mind. That's what makes it so great - a child can dig it, and an adult can dig it for entirely different reasons. I think I'll try my hand at something like that.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

TN:  
J.R.R. Tolkien, but more as a teenager, not a child. It’s still the only fantasy author I like, and the only fantasy author I’ll read. 

TPQ: First book to really own you?

TN: 
The first book that really owned me, that made think and wonder at how someone could write with such an incredible, unique, spare style was The Old Man and The Sea, by Papa Hemingway. How someone could actually have so little on paper but yet say so much, is what results in a masterpiece.


TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

TN: 
Henry Miller – my second favorite is distant and changes from month to month. When Miller gets going it’s like a waterfall of ideas and words and images and street-corner happenings and this maelstrom of electricity starts running through your head, it’s unstoppable and addictive. Not to mention the courage – to write what he did in the 1930’s is beyond having guts, it’s astronomical courage, it’s otherworldly. If it wasn’t for Miller, Charles Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, all the Beats and countless others, including myself, wouldn’t exist. Hell, a whole style of writing wouldn’t exist. 

Evelyn Lau immediately comes to mind – Canadian writer, became famous with her Runaway – Diary of a Street Kid book. A powerful story of living on the streets and doing whatever is necessary to survive, it’s got a real edge, some serious darkness to it, but in the end, she still manages to make it feel like there’s a way out, like hope is not lost. More incredible when you realize she wrote it as a teenager. Wild stuff! Great poet as well.  

TPQ: A Preference for fact or fiction?

TN: Fiction, hands down. But I do read a lot of biographies of writers, artists, politicians, musicians. I’ve read Physics for Dummies, lots of Psychology books, Carl Jung, Freud, and so on. 

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

TN: 
There are a few of those books that impressed me. The Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons was superb - not an easy subject matter about a very complicated man. I read a biography about Led Zeppelin by Mick Wall, When Giants Walked the Earth, which was pretty mind-blowing. I always found Jimmy Page to be an intensely interesting and highly intelligent individual. And then there was Memories, Dreams, Reflections, autobiography by Carl Jung, the great psychologist and philosopher, which I read in my 20's. It was one of those rare books that changed my life and I've been reading and studying Jung since then.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

TN: 
Anything from that Game of Thrones series – Harry Potter books – not my thing and I am being extremely restrained in my disdain.  

Well, I read him as a child, but I could not stand him as an adult, and I categorically refuse to read him ever again– Stephen King. To me, his books are the equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies, absolutely infantile ideas - I mean, a possessed car, are you kidding me? He comes up with ideas that a ten-year-old would come up with, and somehow it sells 20 million copies. Do not get it. 

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?

TN: I’ll have to pick a few – Tristessa by Jack Kerouac, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung, The Pornographer’s Poem by Michael Turner. 


TPQ:
 Last book you gave as a present?

TN: 
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. 

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

TN:  
Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez – it’s an ongoing comic book, graphic novel, but it is literature of the highest degree. Always wanted to see it made into a movie, like other great comics have been – American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, etc. 

TPQ: A "must read" you intend getting to before you die?

TN:  
I don’t really have any must-reads – I feel like I need to be surprised, like I need to discover something new. There isn’t much contemporary stuff I want to read, and I’ve read so many of the old books – maybe I need to read more of the great 19th century French writers – Maupassant, Sand, Dumas, etc. 

Tony Nesca co-runs Screamin' Skull Press and has written thirteen books of prose and poetry. His latest work is Word Music.

6 comments:

  1. Sean Mallory comments

    From SM,
    Patti Smith...God it has been years since I heard that name – Because the Night – that’s all I remember about her.....I think Springsteen had a hand in the writing of that...never read anything by her though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we saw Patti Smith perform in Belfast

      Delete
    2. She's written numerous books. 'Just Kids' (about her and Robert Mapplethorpe) got rave reviews when it came out around ten years ago.

      AM, you poor bastard.

      Delete
    3. Christopher !!!

      I am not a fan - Carrie is. I also got to see PJ Harvey with Carrie as well. Have to say, I like PJ very much

      Delete
  2. I just love the impact Henry Miller had on Tony. When a writer does that to you the writing has to be powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, Henry did it for me alright - there are others, but nothing quite like Tropic of Cancer. The great thing about Miller, is that he changed as the years went on, his writing, his personal outlook...his last 3 books sound nothing like his 1st 3 books...that is the goal of the artist and writer, in my opinion - change, growth, expansion. That was my one problem with Bukowski - he just did too much of the same, for too many years. Cheers everyone ----Tony Nesca

    ReplyDelete