Home > the printed page > we were somewhere around barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold

we were somewhere around barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold

The one real constant in my life recently aside from depression has been books. I’ve been devouring books at quite a rate recently, and I’ve been enjoying myself greatly in the process. Helps me get my mind off the pain and provides some fuel for my own writing.

There was a time when I told myself that I’d get more books by Murakami once I finished Norwegian Wood, but that’s obviously not been the case. I’ve consciously moved away from him and from those kinds of books and that style of writing and find myself gravitating towards either the hardboiled noir of Bruen or, my current preference, the whole world of craziness, oddness, drugs and sleaze presented in Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, Aniruddha Bahal’s Bunker 13 and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the latter of which I just bought today and will start reading now that I’ve finally finished Bruen’s Priest.

I like craziness, I like oddness, I like things to be whacked out and I particularly like it when things in a book would make people cringe and say “that’s not right” or “that’s not good”. If one thing’s quite certain, it’d be that. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have enjoyed Naked Lunch as much as I did, what with its transgressive sexual acts, drug references, occasional gore (nothing like hanging a person and then eating his penis, yay) and various incredibly tripped out scenes (the “Talking Asshole” routine is classic). I enjoyed it greatly. I liked how funny and witty it was and I liked how Burroughs wrote it (even if it sometimes required me to read a paragraph once or twice to really grasp the meaning . . . if there was any, that is). Stuff your Shakespeare, man. Gimme Burroughs any day of the week.

And if I was easily offended (which I am obviously not), I’m sure I wouldn’t be enyjoing Aniruddha Bahal’s Bunker 13 either, which has some violence, lots of things for some people to be offended about, lots of morally-ambiguous behaviour (ok, more like “morally wrong”), but God, it’s an awesome book. Incredibly fast-paced and quite funny, too. I can just imagine some of my friends going “why is he doing this? This is wrong!” and so on and so forth. Bollocks to them, I say.

I finished two books recently: The aforementioned Bruen book Priest and George Orwell’s 1984. There’s not much I can say about Priest except that it’s archetypal Bruen, which is another way of saying it’s quite fucking good. I love Jack Taylor. He’s not exactly an antihero, but he’s by no means a hero, what with all his demons and all his failings. It’s a great book, definitely. I thought some of the scenes were fucking brilliant, as was the dialogue. Gritty, realistic and believable. Makes the characters feel alive.

Not much to say about Orwell’s 1984, either. Brilliant book. I finished it in about two days, drawn in by Orwell’s great writing, the very intriguing storyline and by the novel’s theme(s) and concept(s). I really couldn’t put it down, to use the cliche. It’s quite a thought-provoking read, for sure, and I’d say that it’s essential reading for anyone remotely interested in literature. I thought the third part of the novel was quite brilliant, perhaps a bit of a twist, and the closing chapter is certainly one of the darkest I’ve read. I think I know quite a few people who’d expect a happy ending to it, but there’s no such thing to be found in the novel. No sir. But you really wouldn’t expect anything happy from it, would you? It fit in with my somewhat cynical worldview, I guess.

The reason I decided to buy a Hunter S. Thompson book is partly due to the quote on the front of the aforementioned Bunker 13 goes: “Imagine Catch 22 rewritten by Hunter S. Thompson and set in an unapologetically modern India”. Someone whom I trust greatly for his taste in books and movies told me to check out both Catch 22 (which will probably be my next acquisition) and a Hunter S. Thompson book and said that Fear and Loathing is as good a place to start as any with Hunter S. Thompson. I predict that I’ll enjoy Fear and Loathing greatly.

I’ve also been working on another story. I’m trying to increase my oddness quotient but I’m not sure if I’m succeeding. Trying to think of a way to end this piece. I might have something in mind. We’ll see.

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Categories: the printed page
  1. peachdrug
    May 11, 2008 at 00:34

    I haven’t been getting new books or even reading at the pace I wanted to. I’ve been slowing down, and heck it’s not even my busiest semester. When I can actually finish 1984 in 3 days when I was in my first semester, laden with full day classes and drama practices.

    Damn son.

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