What classic do you want everyone to read, and why?
I feel really evangelical about Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. The first time I read it, all my preconceived notions of war and conflict were just destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up and I kind of feel like absolutely everyone needs to experience that. I don’t see how any country could go to war ever again in a world where everybody had read this book. But that’s naïve, obviously. My other answer is Neuromancer, which is my favourite book in the world, but I understand that sci-fi isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea. Their loss, I guess.
What’s the most overhyped/awful classic?
Fuck anything by Charles Dickens and fuck Ulysses, by Joyce. The former I can’t blame for his awful, dense writing style because he was paid by the word and, honestly, I’d do the exact same in that position - but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. The latter is that inexcusably pretentious kind of hyper-intellectual masturbation that I just can’t abide. Fuck you James Joyce. You’re a disgrace to the name.
Which classic do you always lie about having read?
I don’t tend to pretend I’ve read anything I haven’t, because that seems to just be asking for trouble. But I guess people sometimes assume I’ve read Dracula and I don’t bother correcting them. Maybe I’ll read it one day. Probably not. Whatever. People also tend to be surprised that I haven’t read any Austen when that comes up as well, but I don’t bother pretending I have.
Snog marry kill in the last classic you’ve read.
The last classic (or near enough) I read was Giovanni’s Room, in which I’d snog Giovanni, marry Hella (because SOMEONE SHOULD GOD DAMN IT) and kill David, who - looking back on the whole thing - was honestly kind of a dickhead.
From two different classics, what is a likely ship?
Roy Batty from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Molly Millions from Neuromancer. Get that cyborg love out there. Alternatively I think GLaDOS from Portal and HAL9000 would have a lot to get on about. I’m calling Portal a classic there, but oh well. I think it counts.