Paul Collins' latest posts are on the Festivaletteratura, a large literary festival in Montova, Italy where he's been spending some time. Sounds like a fantastic experience, even if, as Paul notes, Italian interviewers really liked to ask him to name five books that he thought everyone should own.
They dragged answers out of him, but he writes "I'm not sure that I can explain my resistance to issuing a personal canon, but I'm even more bewildered by the desire for one. To, the personal search for books is at least half the point: and it is utterly dependent on whatever odd cicrumstances, moods, and places happen to converge on any given day. Moreover, my stock of books constantly shifts every time I move house. I reevaluate what each book means to me, and whether I even want to keep it around. But in retrospect, I suppose the question was really a simpler one, and had little to do with canons at all. At least, I hope so. At its root, it is simply a variation on 'Tell us about yourself.' Strangely, for a memoirist, I really have no idea how to answer that question either."
I agree, I don't understand why anyone would want a list like that. I hope nobody ever gives me one (or asks me for one!). I'm always happy to give out recommendations, but I'd never presume to tell someone that any book is a "must-have."
Paul's second new post is about an old Italian game show which sounds quite hilarious.