Monday, December 3, 2007

Reading rainbow!

Right now I'm a tad more than half way finished with, what I think, is a brilliant book. Best part is: this novel came up and bit me in the ass. See, I have very strange taste in what I read. It's not that I'm snobbish, in fact its quite the opposite. I love a certain voice and I can only stand a certain type of storytelling. In fact, I would say it's the opposite of elitism. For all I know it may be a form of doltishness.
Finding books I truly dig is difficult. That's why when I found myself laughing out loud on the six train (which for some reason most commuters find odd in this day and age, isn't that sad and pathetic?) I thought I had to tell the world of this fantastic read. Then I thought: "Fuck that. Tell them about MANY fantastic reads!"
And so I will. Here is (in no particular order) Kevin Gannon's Suggested Winter Reading.

1. APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES - Paul Neilan

This is what I'm reading right now. Let me tell you: go buy this. Steal it, I don't give a shit just read it. This cat writes in the style I dig but doesn't melt into that pot of the great minimalists where everything starts to sound the same. For Christ's sake; the book has a character who fucks his Guinea Pig. Exactly. Read it.

2. MEMOIRS OF A BEATNIK - Diane Di Prima

Almost over a year ago I was sifting through my dad's moldy books in the dusty third floor of our old house when I came across a box filled with novels from his youth. If you do the math you will realize his youth was just around the Beats' big debut. I started to read the greats and went through a very strange time of my life. You know: that cliche beatnik phase every asshole goes through. Now, with a few more hairs on my chin and a year or two of wisdom under my belt I sort of outgrew the Beats. Of all this books, however, one stuck with me. This one. It's sexy, it's disturbing and its real. This book is also proof, that STDs just didn't exist in the 50's.

3. BEING THERE - Jerzy Kosinski

Let me just say this. Kosinski wrote this book so god damned well that the film adaptation was EXACTLY how I pictured it. Why? Because there was no other way to picture it. If that makes sense, it should tell you how good of a writer this cat was.

4. THE VERIFICATIONIST - Donald Antrim

If Burroughs took as much acid as he did H, this would be the result. It takes place in a waffle house. That in itself is enough for me. To make it even more entertaining, a fight between two established psychologists goes down and one of them is bear hugged into submission. So much so that his soul floats out of his body, leaving him to fly around and mess with the lines of the material and surreal.

5. JESUS' SON - Denis Johnson

An ex-girlfriend of mine gave this to me and I never really thanked her for it. Mostly because I was supposed to give it back and "thank you" might lead to "here it is" which would lead to me not having it anymore. Also, I don't think she likes me very much these days.
Either way, It's one of my favorite books and least favorite films. I love to be complicated.

6. THE BIG SLEEP - Raymond Chandler

There aren't that many characters that I strive to be. Part of it's because I'm a megalomaniacal asshole but the other part is that I just don't dig yearning to be what some other megalomaniacal asshole created. That rule does not apply to Phillip Marlowe. A knight in shinning armor in a world of shit, I wish with everything I could be this man. At least for a day.

7. GEEK LOVE - Katherine Dunn

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It's about a traveling family of freak show attractions who were created by their parents intentionally by fucking with that precious nine months called pregnancy (the mother drinks chemicals, smokes cigarettes, even punches herself in the belly for good measure). One of these ill offspring is Arturo the Aqua Boy. He has no arms or legs. Oh yeah, and he is leading a cult that is taking over all of depression riddled America. how do you become a member? Well duh, you chop your arms and legs off. Read it.

8. JUNKY - William S. Burroughs

This is just enough Burroughs for me. It's like Naked Lunch after downing a nice mix of tricyclets and Valium. Not too crazy but not TOO sane. Juuuuuust right.

9. HOW I BECAME AN AUTHORITY ON SEX - Jim Moran
Now, this book I also found floating around the shelves of the third floor of my CT house. This is a bit of mystery to me. I read it a very long time ago and was blown away. I read it again. And again. And again. I don't know who Jim Moran is. All I know is this was written in 1973 and doing a Google search brings up nothing. It's as if the book never existed. I do know one thing, however: Jim Moran IS an authority on sex. And he's a fucking mastermind comic. It's one of the funniest books I have ever read and if you can find it you should read it.

10. HAM ON RYE - Charles Bukowski

The Buk is my favorite writer. Period. that is why it is difficult to choose which one of his novels would make it to my list. I decided on Ham on Rye because it is not only one of his longest but it's also about Bukowski's fucked-up, acne scarred life. Of all the books on this list, if you ever decide to read like Kevin Gannon, pick this one up. Read it then pick up every other book he's ever written. After that, go on through the other 9.

Well ladies and gentlemen: 10 books you must read before you die. At least according to me. Don't look for these in Oprah's book club. If you hate one you will probably hate them all. I hope someone will read one of these by the time they die. Then, and only then, will my life have not been lived in vain.
Peace, fools.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Was Jesus' Son a movie?

Jesus said...

I'm glad you liked the book

Anonymous said...

I've been told to pick up Being There before because it's supposedly got the same kind of charm as Cats Cradle. I'll definitely pick it up now. I might even just go down this list and pick up as many as I can for christmas gifts. Barnes and Noble gift cards don't spend themselves.

Lorrayne said...

my body is a movie and your penis is the star!

Anonymous said...

you're so "cool!"

daniel said...

you should read the painted bird. whoa brother