"Who is your favorite author?" "Favorite books?"

Thanks for your question Herb, I get this one quite a bit. 

"Who is your favorite author?" "What are your favorite books?"

Avid readers such as yourself will be horrified by the answer!

I have read three books in my entire life!

I do not read books. I've simply never enjoyed reading. (Though I love writing! More on that later) I never read books growing up and made it all of the way through school without ever having read a single assigned book. How you ask? Because I'm a good listener. School (at least the one I went to) is really all about listening to what the teacher is trying to teach you and then proving that you understood it by repeating it all back to him or her in the form of a test.  When reading was assigned, I simply never did it.  The next day in class, anything that was of import was discussed.  And anything that was going to be on the test would be covered.  I LOVE discussions, that part was never a problem.  In fact, I was always vey much involved in the discussions and I have an incredible memory for certain things so I generally aced all of my tests.

Well, what about book reports? I mean, they're not covering those in class right? So how did I get away with writing reports for books I never read?  In 8th grade I had to do a book report on Catcher in the Rye. It had to be about twenty pages long.  I started reading the book. I read half of the first chapter before I wanted to cut my head off with a dull knife. Then I began my report. It went something like this...

..."In Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield finds himself at a crossroads in his life. I know exactly how he feels..."  and then the next twenty pages were about an experience I had. I got an A+ and the teacher wrote me a note saying that she was really impressed by how the book had effected me and caused me to relate it to my own life.  I'm not saying this is good, mind you. I'm just answering your question.

There are those who believe that reading makes you intelligent.  Maybe that's true. But everything I know I learned from life, by observing and by doing.  At this point, I feel it's important that I point out that I graduated from high school a year early as a junior and that I've been a college professor for 19 years.  Just saying.

So what are the three books I've read? 

A Spell for Chameleon  by Piers Anthony:  When I was about 13, somewhere around 1980, I saw this book in a store.  The cover absolutely captured my imagination! I remember it had a Chimera on it, some kind of weird composite monster made up of a lion, snake, maybe Griffin, etc... It looked "bad ass!".  And some part of me really wanted to try to understand why people loved reading books, so with this cover looking as amazing as it did, I figured this was the book that I would try to discover the joy of reading with.  I found the story interesting enough. I liked the protagonist and there were definitely moments where I couldn't put the book down, but physically, it's always been a struggle for me to read. It makes me tired. And anyway, what was going on in my real world at that time made the events in the book, as magical as they were, seem kind of tame.

An Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice:  I read this around 1988 after my then girlfriend had kicked me out. I was staying in the parlor (not really a private room) of an apartment the animation company I worked for (Broadcast Arts) kept for visiting clients. It overlooked 2nd ave in the East Village of NYC, between 9th and 10th streets.  It was summer in NYC and incredibly hot! The events that took place in that apartment while I was reading the book are probably more interesting (at least to me) than what happens in this novel.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut:  Around 1993 or so, I met an older German woman who offered me a 13-thousand dollar "art" grant. It's a long story and pretty damn colorful, but all I have time for right now is that I used almost all of the money to make my 45-second-long film Rakthavira (because I'm an idiot). Part of the deal was that I would have an exhibition at the opera house in Frankfurt, Germany where I would show my film and my animation models and have dinner with the mayor of Frankfurt, the German finance minister and other dignitaries.  Before getting on the plane to Frankfurt, a friend of mine, horrified by the fact that I'd only read two books in my entire life, handed me a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five and assured me that I'd love it.  I did! It really spoke to me. In fact it spoke to me in a voice that I found so familiar that I thought to myself, "This sounds exactly like the way I speak. I guess I could write a book, too!"   And so I did.  Shortly thereafter I started writing a horror/metaphysical novel called The Nothing. I got about half way through it before I made a decision to shift gears and work on what would become the Chi-chian comic book series (which seemed at the time to be a more productive use of my time... and it was.)   In any case, Vonnegut's book communicated to me that I was probably better off writing books than reading them.


Since then I have written many, many comic books and two non-fiction books, "What is Goth?" and "Paint it Black- A Guide to Gothic Homemaking".  If I write one more book, I will have written as many books as I've read.  ; )

I am bursting at the seems to write.  I'm not sure where I will find the time. But I have a half-finished novel called The Nothing and I'm DYING to write a Chi-chian novel as well as a  novelization of my "Call of the Jersey Devil" screenplay. The fact is, I've never liked reading, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE writing.

Lastly, I must confess that in truth I've read a couple of other books.  Once while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands, a hurricane hit and I was stuck with my then girlfriend and our newborn son in a hut, nervously waiting out the storm.  There wasn't much to do in there but panic and pray.  There was a bookshelf full of books though so after 12 hours of doing nothing, I eventually caved and  went through it and picked the only book that seemed to be about monsters. It was called, "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson.  It was an entertaining enough read while thinking we were all going to die.

On another trip, maybe to Belize, that same girlfriend bought me a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel that she found in a gift shop as a joke.  I read it.  I'm still not sure why.

And I also read a werewolf book called The Sticks by my good friend Andy Deane, the lead singer of Bella Morte. I was on tour and so were they and at some point we crossed paths.  I saw that he had written a book and was selling it at his merch table. It intrigued me so I bought a copy. I found it very entertaining and it inspired me further to write.


So why do I tell people, that i've only read three books in my whole life? Because three is funnier than six.


Kat March 28, 2015 @08:35 pm
Following the improv rule of three?
Syed October 08, 2013 @02:49 am
My sister's keeepr. My sister's keeepr is an amazing book!! I am reading it right now and am almost done. There are only positive things to say about this book. However, there are cuss words in this book, just so you all know. If you are looking for an amazing book, then I would recommend this book to everyone!! I am ,like, in love with this book <3 . If you need a book to read to meet your A/R goal then I would read this book. This book is a little bit longer, but it is totally worth it!! This book is 18.00 points. And I believe it is a 5.6 range, but I could be wrong. Thank you for reading this!! Leave a comment
Sinead July 05, 2012 @11:47 am
I made it through school without reading the assigned books as well, I also passed the classes with decent marks... Anyways this blog was interesting, I wanted to find out what books you'd read after seeing your youtube 'Ask Voltaire'.
caleb March 26, 2012 @10:15 am
wow. i'm actually like that. but ironically i started out as loving to read and hating writing. now i love writing, not so much reading. what happened? lol!
Erik le Plushie October 24, 2011 @12:03 am
Only six? Erik is amazed. Perhaps he can ply you into reading 'Phantom of the Opera'? Or is Erik being too obvious? But in all honesty, your incredible list of accomplishments, ranging from several very interesting and unique albums with very clever lyrics to a line of evil teddy bear comic books, more than supplement you with a respectability that many "well-read people" simply do not possess, despite their vast efforts to try. Erik tips his fedora to you, sir; from what Erik has heard of your songs and your interviews, you appear to have a much better idea about society and life in general than most do.
Erika August 29, 2011 @03:49 pm
I worship writing, but not in a different sense than I do art. Being a writer and an artist, I love looking at other people's work and finding their voice and ideas in it-it was something one of my favorite professors cemented into me as necessary-as necessary as owning a damned paintbrush. It's a veritable well-spring of inspiration and ideas, and examining the work of others has always given me the drive to make my own work better. Maybe you don't do this with books because you do it with other things? Art? Music? The idea that one can be a producer of something, while not a consumer of it, is a bit odd- but it's not really any less valid. You could argue that those of us who are avid consumers of books might be less original in our own style-having drank in the text of others so much.
Maurice Chalons August 26, 2011 @07:44 pm
Voltaire,my good friend,and good singer an writer,you said you are a good listener riight,ok then,im going to discovery something,about the end of the world,by the maya testament,a acient mexican civilization, and im still readin the maya testament by steve halten,ok the point,is do you really think there s going to be a cataclys in 21 december 2012, really you should listen the decodificators in history channel,and the documentals of the profecy of nostradamus,i think there is going to be somehintg,it will happen,because is very exact all the cicles around the galaxy made it for the aztec and mayan cultures,and i think,this can interest you,,you see ther is even more problems in the world,more than ever,did youeven have a sensation of an evil is coming up soon,like oh wt that heck,why all this damn things is heppening,youcan answer me if you wish,for your fan maurice chalons
Christina August 09, 2011 @01:53 am
I can't believe that you have only read three books in you're life!!! To me book's are my life!!!!! You should read "The Book Thief" it is about "Death's point of view on a very interesting German girl and what she went threw in her life. (fiction)
Srhara July 19, 2011 @11:02 am
I loved Spell for Chameleon! My dad gave it to me for valentines day. I still find that slightly creepy, considering the sexual encounters, and that I was 12. But it still was a good read, I started reading the second book but ended up reading the rest of it at home because my friends thought that the protagonist (on the cover) looked like he wasn't wearing pants while fighting a dragon. >.< he was, they were just really tan colored brown.
LuckyBlackCat June 28, 2011 @12:02 am
Really...I would've thought that you would've liked Edgar Allan Poe....^^' ((and I know I already commented, but it just occured to me that I didn't recall if you had typed down his name somewhere...)) But I admire your skill at being able to listen well. ^^ I usually can't do that unless it interests me. :]
anakie June 26, 2011 @07:42 pm
i read all the time im reading right now but when its NOT a blog or a forum its to my baby bro
Lilly Peppermint June 25, 2011 @06:28 am
I've always read. To me, reading (along with music and gaming) is my escapism. I rarely read text books or non fiction though.
Eris June 24, 2011 @12:06 am
I read a lot, and I study a lot, and I don't think I am intelligent. I just know a lot. YOU are intelligent because you also know a lot, and not only that, you know how to use that knowledge.
Ola June 18, 2011 @07:43 am
... Seriously? Three books, your entire life?! But, judging by the titles, you've always been a goth guy... Well, even though you're not really a reader, I still think you're the most VOLTAIREST GUY EVAAAR!!! Thats right! you're name is now THE BEST AND VOLTAIREST ADJEVTIVE EVAAAR!!!
Lucky Black Cat June 10, 2011 @10:55 pm
That is impressive. o_o' Getting through school without having read an assigned book. ((lol..."Dead" just came on. xD)) As for myself...well, assuming you even care...I like books. o.o They are good company when you don't feel like talking to people. :] Right now I'm reading "Cirque Du Freak" by Darren Shan and "Wicked Lovely" by Melissa Marr...But I do need to read "The Pearl" and some other book for school. >_> But I have my own list of books that I need to get and read. ((including your own books.)) I just can't seem to find the time...>_>
Tina Weikel June 10, 2011 @07:19 pm
I am amazingly not turned off by your non-reading ways. :) Thank you for sharing. A Spell for Chameleon was my first book too. (Outside of school assignments.)
Joshua June 10, 2011 @04:11 pm
I just wanted to say that I think you just went through your 8th grade english all over again in that answer. He asked 2 simple questions and you turned it into a 20 paragragh answer. Hats off to you. My teacher would catch on, and I would've got a D or maybe F if I did that.
La Santisima Muerte June 10, 2011 @12:08 pm
I would be horrified if your reasons for not reading a lot were because you didnt respect books and what they've done for society. But it seems you do. You're a writer after all and you've seen what your books have done for people (I use your What Is Goth book frequently to explain why Im goth to many people I meet. Living in Houston means its a well used book.). (LOL on the recaptcha box it says 'stop spam. read books.')
gothshark June 10, 2011 @12:07 pm
interesting, very interesting. your 4 years older than me. and your take on books is funny. Personally I use to read a book a day until I looked up and saw people.
Fe'retto Hime-Sama(Or something...) June 10, 2011 @09:32 am
Well, I WOULD be horrified, being the avid reader/writer I am(A book a day!), But up until 5th grade I hated reading with such a pasion that I never read a single chapter. This would have gone on exept I was tricked into reading a book about Talking worrior cats, and from then on I was hooked. Maby you just need to find the right book? In any case, Write on!
Rissa June 10, 2011 @07:05 am
Oh my god... O_O
gary June 10, 2011 @06:58 am
All three of those books are pretty damn good reads. I used to read quite a bit but find that it captures all of my attention in a way I don't like.Audio books seem to be the way to go for me now, nothing like having a personal story teller talking straight to your brain.
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