Tuesday, September 08, 2020

John Cleese Wants to Have All His Unread Books Buried with HIm

Via my digital subscription to the New York Times Book Review, comes a mini-interview with one of my favorite comedians and actors, John Cleese. I mean, come on, when an interview has a title like "John Cleese Intends to Have His Unread Books Buried with Him," how can you not read it?

The interview includes some really great questions (long tried and tested in most of these "By the Book" interviews), such as:
  • Last great book read,
  • your ideal reading experience, 
  • kind of reader you were as a child,
  • current writers most admired,
  • favorite fictional heroes or heroines,
  • favorite villains,
  • how personal library is organized,
  • favorite comfort reads, and
  • any guilty-pleasure reads.

Cleese seems to take the interview questions pretty seriously, but the personality and style exhibited in his responses will be easily recognizable to his longtime fans, particularly in quotes like this one:
"In a nutshell, I believe most organized religion is simply crowd control."

Or this one:

"I have books scattered all over the planet, like my ex-wives."

I was hoping that Cleese would be one of the few interviewees to actually answer the "guilty pleasure" question, but like most others, he bailed out of laying that kind of backhanded compliment on any of his contemporaries. 

New York Times Book Review link is here. 

(I should mention, too, that if I were to have all of my unread books buried with me, I would need a coffin about the size of my living room in order to accommodate them.)


  1. Or you could make sure they're all on your eReader. ;-)

  2. Such a great title for an interview! It totally made me laugh. I'd have to have a separate coffin for all my unread books. ;D

    1. I sure couldn't ignore an interview with that title - especially since John Cleese was the part of it. Love that guy's work in so many ways.

  3. Brilliant interview! Thanks for linking to it, Sam.

    1. The questions are sort of the same ones often used in their weekly interviews, but Cleese is clever enough to make it all sound fresh. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Ha ha. Same. I would need the whole cemetery for me and my collection :)

    1. I'm starting to think that someone should write a novel about a "library for the dead." There's got to be aa great plot in there somewhere.