Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mr. X

NOW READING: Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian

OK, I know. I KNOW that technically the name "Gao Xingjian" is really like "Xingjian Gao" in the way we here in the West would say our names (not my usual U.S. West, but the Western West, as opposed to not Asian, basically). But have you ever tried to find authors, plural, whose last names begin with X from among which to choose the 24th book of your A-to-Z Literary Blog Project? I daresay you have not!

The whole starts-with-X thing has always bugged me. One of my most gigantic pet peeves in life -- I'm talking right up there with "PIN n****r" and people who say they "don't have a choice" about shopping at Walmart -- is when there is a game, children's book, motivational poster, or other list where there is one word for each letter of the alphabet A through Z and then when they get to X there is NEVER an appropriate word/item for the list that actually starts with X, so they put in something like "eXtremely _____." It is totally cheating. The way I see it, if you want to do the whole gimmicky A-is-for..., B-is-for.... thing, then you damn well better either need an X-ray or a xylophone, or just don't make the list in the first place.

So I have been aware for a while of the difficulties presented by 'X' and I have allowed myself to read Gao Xingjian because he totally meets all the other qualifications (being an author I have wanted to read etc.) and also because he is so shelved under X and I certainly did not think about that back in 'G' time (hello Nadine!) so otherwise Gao would not have a chance. And he deserves a chance to have me read him, don't you think? Even if he is not a xylophone.

The only other options I found, by the way, were also Chinese last names that are actually Chinese first names. One was some mystery author and one was a woman who apparently goes by the one name, like Cher or Madonna. She could be better or even worse for my 'X' name credibility, depending on how you look at it.

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