Wednesday, June 08, 2005


This is a continuation of a blog entry by Crackpot several posts ago. Here are my stats:

NUMBER OF BOOKS THAT I OWN: This is quite simply not possible to answer. I have most of my books -- four huge overflowing bookshelves full -- but some are still at my parent's house in (GULP!) the South. That's right. I'm from the South which means I get free reign to say whatever the hell I want about it. But I digress.

LAST BOOK THAT I BOUGHT: There are two places I try not to enter -- strip clubs and book stores. Both types of establishments drain my bank account, except when I leave a book store I don't look like a circus freak. However, my most recent purchase is Will Durant's THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY. I like to read that kind of stuff and toss out gems about epistemology and metaphysics (blech!) at Hollywood parties just to see the bimbos look up from their rails with that quizzical expression that says "I may be stupid, but you'll never touch me." It also reminds me of one of the all time greatest Neil Simon lines. It's from MAX DUGAN RETURNS. Jason Robards tells Matthew Broderick that when his grandfather was on his deathbed that he made him (Robards) promise to tell his grandson (Broderick) to go to college and major in philosophy. BRODERICK: Can you make any money in philosophy? ROBARDS: If you have the right one.



Technically its non-fiction, but I leave its actual category up to the individual reader. Think WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW? but multiplied by a google. Whatever is true or pure fantasy this was one hell of a read. If you don't think your normal after reading this then send me your phone number.

Five books is not enough so I'm listing ten. These aren't necessarily my favorite books (though most are) and I do not necessarily place them above other works. But for one reason or another, their influence on me makes up a part of what makes me the happy go lucky sociopath that I am today.

In alphabetical order by title

ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren

One of the greatest Southern novels ever written, All the King's Men is based on the larger than life American politician Huey Long, the controversial socialist Governor of Louisiana from 1928- 1932. This book is all you will ever need to know about American politics. Forget that "I'm a Bill, I'm Just A Bill" stuff. This is how the whole ugly affair really operates and its no different now then when this story takes place. The prose is so magical I don't even know where to start. It was made into a film in 1949 and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Not too shabby.

CYBERIA by Douglas Rushkoff

I'm fascinated by the evolution of American subculture and there is no other book which more colorfully describes the convergence of many separate sub culture influences in the 1980's and 1990's. Nobody else writes about these kinds of subjects with more respect and clarity than Rushkoff. In Cyberia he seamlessly connects the 60's counter culture, computer technology (blogs anyone?), raves, and new age philosophies. The stories of the people you meet in this book are astounding in their bold weirdness. All the books listed here changed my inner life, but Cyberia changed my outer life. It drew me to wonderful places I will always remember.

by Dante Alighieri

God bless the Italians. They didn't invent heaven and hell but they sure did perfect it. For example: The pizza from San Travaso in Venice (Heaven). The showers in Italy (Hell). Paradiso, Purgatorio, and The Inferno cannot be described, they can only be read. One day we will live in Florence (oh yes we will) and every day I will go to Dante's grave and drink a bottle of Barbaresco and I will be happy.

GENERATION X by Douglas Coupland

In the big bloody drama that is my head, Douglas Coupland lives next door to Dostoevsky because of Generation X. I just recently reread it and found even more brilliance and honesty in it than the first five times I read it. Coupland has never reached the Parthenon of American letters, but years from now this will be my generation's Great Gatsby. Wedged between the cannibalism of the Baby Boomers and the shockingly shallow generation Y, X is small and forgotten. But we will rule the world, oh yes we will. All in good time, all in good time.


What's a Jungian trapped in a Freudian body to do? I think Dr. Jung's reputation as a Crackpot precedes him. What was this guy smoking? WOW. If he wasn't some kind of freakish super genius he certainly would have been incarcerated. My kind of psychologist -- crazy.

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sometimes you read something and say to yourself "That is me" and nothing else you ever touch comes as close to describing your inner life. Unfortunately, that something for me is the grandfather of existential philosophy -- the ground breaking and mind shattering Notes from the Underground by "Russia's evil genius" Fyodor Dostoevsky. Warning: Not summer/beach reading.


I know, I know. The Odyssey is an epic poem, not a book. But all things must bow to it. This is the one that did it. This is the one that broke it all out for me. This is the one that changed me instantly -- and not for the better mind you. The thinking man's life is nothing to boast about. But enough about me and you, let's talk about Homer for a second. I have it on good authority that during one performance of his masterpiece he bit the head off a live bat. No lie. Read once a year, best in spring.


James Joyce, that son of a bitch, is so talented that it's probably best never to pick up a book by him lest you will forever banish yourself to the ranks of the mediocre. The best thing to do is pretend that he's an alien from some other planet and you're just fortunate enough to get a good translation. This book taught me that the absolute worst thing you could possibly do with your life is be a writer. So that's exactly what I did, and I pay for that decision with my dignity every single day. I don't blame Joyce though. He's an alien! He knows not what he does to us mere mortals.

TOM SAWYER by Mark Twain

There is nobody I admire more than Mark Twain. He was fearless and funny. Tom Sawyer is a classic for so many reasons, but my personal reason for including it on this list is that it was the "doorway drug" that led me to all the rest of Twain's works. Of course I haven't read half of half of his prolific writings but I will. Oh yes I will.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke

A boy needs to dream every now and then.


THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson

I don't know why I still think about this kid's book all the time. I have no idea how old I was when I read it. Very young. I guess I've always liked tragedy. Is that a bad thing?


1 comment:

Greg Mills said...

Have you read Wifey? Awesome, awesome book.