I’m always trying to find ways to get my creative cobwebs cleaned out. Nothing does this better or faster than a novel that sinks into my every waking (and non-waking) hour. So, I thought I’d give you a good summer reading list to jog your memory full of explicit, aching, unrelenting, focused and imaginative visions. A great novel is like a great acid trip. Or so I’ve deduced from all that I’ve read about the stuff.
First up are two of my soul homeboys. Seriously, read these dudes and you’ll start sweating out their scenes like an alcoholic, much like Lowry’s pro(?)tagonist. The characters in both of these novels seem to travel far, fade in and out of reality and in between cities, countries, personalities, et al. They are poets, drifters, losers and dreamers all in one. They’ve all stuck with me. I can’t shake them and I love that. Can’t live without it, really.
Here we’ve got an interesting pairing – though I wouldn’t recommend reading them back to back, necessarily. That may be a catalyst for some deep rooted schizophrenia you and your friends don’t yet know about. Though, plenty have launched a career around that…
Boll’s novella is stunning in it’s brevity, intensity and abrupt ending. He really has a knack for constructing beautiful sentences too. Krzhianovsky’s novel is not exactly beach reading, be forewarned. It’s hard to keep your place and I think the supporting characters are exhibiting the same frustrations as well. In the end, it’s wild and strange and more like a road trip with a blindfold on while a madman’s driving, though to be fair, when you got in the car you thought he was just kinda talkative.
Everybody knows/has read/ loves Flannery O’Conner but I have to mention Wise Blood here. I mention it anytime someone asks for a recommendation. I read it last about four years ago and since then, I’m constantly reading other books and saying to myself, “man, I wish this was just a lot more like Wise Blood.” It’s her best novel, her best commentary on the south and religion. You can’t beat that in the hot, hot heat.
Kundera’s The Curtain is as it says, an essay in seven parts. What the title doesn’t describe is how it’s a literary history lesson littered with hilarious jokes and one-liners. Somehow, it’s kind of a nerd’s version of The Comedians of Comedy.
Last, but ABSOLUTELY NOT LEAST is Robert A Caro’s Master of the Senate, chronicling Lyndon Johnson’s puppet mastery of the United States Senate. If you’ve ever met me, you’ve most assuredly been annoyed by me talking strictly of two things: The Wire and Master of the Senate. Nuff said, I think. It’s about 1300 pages but every goddamn word is worth it. Plus, Caro is FINALLY publishing his latest volume on Johnson’s early presidency. HOLY SHIT THIS IS BETTER THAN SEEING THE BEATLES. For reals. So, go forth and read. Of course, let me know what’s on YOUR summer reading list. Unless it’s a Chelsea Handler book.