Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jonathan Ashley's Book Shelf

What books are currently on your nightstand?
Best of the South (Last Ten Years) - Short Story Anthology
War of the Dons - Peter Rabe
Last Notes from Home - Frederick Exley
Cold Spring Harbor - Richard Yates

Who is your all-time favorite novelist?
Probably a tie between Frederick Exley and Richard Yates.

What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Rabbi Jesus by Bruce Chilton, a study of the historical, Rabbinical Jesus.

Who is your favorite fictional character?
Ignatius Reilly from John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces.  I felt more comfortable with being an outsider after reading of Reilly's expoits.  Neither of us can get along very well in society and, like Reilly, I have spent more time and energy avoiding becoming a regular Joe than it would have taken to just behave myself. At one point, I almost changed my name legally to Ignatius.

What book do you return to?
A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley. One of the funniest and, simultaneously, saddest pieces of work I've ever encountered. A true triumph.

Jonathan Ashley is the author of Out of Mercy and The Cost of Doing Business. His work has appeared in Crime Factory, A Twist of Noir, LEO Weekly, Kentucky Magazine and Yellow Mama. He lives in Lexington, KY. 

OUT OF MERCY  has been praised by heavyweights such as Jerry Stahl ("The kind of flat-out, heart-stopping, psycho-emotional thrill ride that just might put this author on the map with the giants."), Scott Phillips ("A savage, horrifying and gut-bustingly funny Western.") and Benjamin Whitmer ("Hard, stark and brilliant, Out of Mercy is the best Western I've read in years.").


Jeff Meyerson said...

I'm a big fan of A FAN'S NOTES too, as well as A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too. And Richard Yates. This guy and I have a lot in common.

Jeff Meyerson said...

And Richard Yates, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting. Certainly very different tastes from me, but that's fine!

Deb said...

I love CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. It's one of my all-time favorites. I recently read A FAN'S NOTES (after Frank Gifford died) and while I thought it was beautifully-written, the story was too sad for me.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I read PAGES FROM A COLD ISLAND immediately after A FAN'S NOTES but still haven't read the third book in the trilogy, LAST NOTES FROM HOME, though I have it.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was able to read it in my twenties not sure I could now. Funny how you get softer as you age. In all ways.

Mathew Paust said...

Last Notes from Home wasn't as depressing as I thought it might be, but I was so much older then. What really got to me was a friend's eulogy (don't remember who) who said a drunken Exley in his last days would call up acquaintances in wee morning hours and blather away at them for hours, evidently so lonely he couldn't bear it.

As to Confederacy, a book by an old schoolmate, Joel Fletcher, is really depressing. He shows the frustration Toole experienced trying to get his book published, how close he came before Robert Gottleib at Simon and Schuster finally gave up on the book and rejected it, and Toole, who evidently was a closet gay, then started his decline into drunkenness and suicidal depression. Ken and Thelma

pattinase (abbott) said...

So few great books are not dismal, depressing, dire. I am used to it.

neer said...

Hi Patti

Here's my FFB:

The Face in the Night by Edgar Wallace


Anonymous said...

So glad to see this feature back! And it's always fascinating to 'meet' someone who's read books that are not the same as I have. I learn so much that way.