Jeff Jowett

Name: Jeff Jowett

Favorite Book: "African Genesis" by Robert Ardrey

"This requires a lot of thought! Still not sure about best book, but the best thing I ever read is easy: a short story by James Joyce, "Araby". Does in 5 pages what took Cervantes about 900...As to books, that’s tough. For one, there probably should be a distinction between different types, like fiction and non. Probably my best non-fiction is "African Genesis" by Robert Ardrey, because it exposes the lie of Special Creation which religion is commonly built upon; i.e., that humans are somehow “special” and not part of or responsible to the rest of the biosphere. From here, you have a platform for the brutalization and exploitation of other animals, but also each other, because all you have to do is make some other race or ethnicity somehow “less” than you are, and all bets are off..."Notes From the Underground" by Dostoyevsky is technically fiction, but really straddles the genre with political diatribe. To me, it’s an epiphany. Of course, I’m not going to boldly claim I’m getting it right, but it seems to me he’s saying that what humans cherish more than anything else is to be an asshole; i.e., naked self assertion for no other purpose. And in Russia, they knew how to deal with this: the Gulag...Then to fiction…well, for pure artistry of writing, leading the thought pack right now I suppose would be "Rebecca", by Daphne du Maurier. I can’t believe scholars regard her as just a 2nd-rate hack! I thought this was so well constructed. I love description, and I thought the descriptions of the estate, the manners, the customs, the etiquette, and the narrative character’s unease and embarrassment are superb. The leading character is already dead by the start of the book, yet has an existence and an influence more vivid than the living characters. The narrative character is so dwarfed that she is never even given a name, yet I didn’t even realize this until about ¾ through!...Also much in the running would be "Watership Down" by Richard Adams, and I’d be inexcusably remiss not to include "Lolita"...Let’s see,,,some other “bests”... Best play I ever saw: "Our Town"...Best jazz album: "Kind of Blue", Miles Davis...Best any album: Again Miles, with Gil Evans, "Sketches of Spain"... Favorite painter (I don’t know near enough about art to use the word “best”): Renoir, just an eyelash ahead of Toulouse...Favorite art Critic: Of course! Sister Wendy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...Greatest song: "Londonderry Air" (a/k/a Danny Boy)...Best melody: Duke Ellington’s "Satin Doll"...Most beautiful chick ever: Valerie Bertinelli... Hottest chick ever: This defies challenge! Where do you begin???????? Could be Betty Page...The Greatest Man in the World -- unquestionably -- Don Elbaum!!!!!!!!!"

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