Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Did this for Platform recently.

I remember my mum saying, “if you’re bored, why not read a book?”. Until I was 18, this seemed like an infuriating and ludicrous suggestion and was often thwarted by other distractions such as Nintendo 64. I still feel similar at times today but reading is actually really good for making you look and feel intelligent. If you don’t want to read the whole thing then you can always just read the summaries and then pretend you have read the whole thing. However, you might want to buy the books as well (to display them on shelves for when people come over, obviously). Here is a selection of books that explore all the angsty, life-is-meaningless-so-lets-drink-spirits-and-take-drugs problems that you keep bottled up inside.

Catcher in The Rye - J.D. Salinger

This is probably the quintessential “angry young man book” and for a good reason too. It’s really good. Characterized by drunkenness loneliness and a hatred towards the “phonies”. The prematurely grey Holden has failed sexual encounters, is beaten up by a pimp, expelled from school and sustains a major dislike for competitive sport all whilst being extremely disillusioned with everything, ever.
“Sex is something I really don’t understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it, though, the same week I made it - the same night, as a matter of fact.”
- J.D. Salinger

L’Etranger - Albert Camus
A great read for bouts of nihilism, perhaps for when a girlfriend has dumped you or for other times of extreme tragedy. L’Etranger, in short, is a story of a young clerk who loses his mother; attends her funeral; returns to the office; takes out a girl or two; goes on a visit to a friend; joins in an obscure dispute; lets off a gun; kills a man; is tried and condemned to death. It’s basically all about there being no room for morals -He did this, but be might just as well have done that, this and that are equally unimportant. We search for a meaning, but we discover that there is no meaning; and that is the only meaning. Basically do what the fuck you like because it doesn’t matter.
“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”
- Albert Camus

A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
If you still live with your mum, are overweight, a complete fantasist and find the idea of work both confusing and terrifying, then this is your book. The hero, (and he is a hero) goes to the movies to mock them, has a disdain for all modern technology and pop culture, a love of food and odd masturbatory dreams and a tendency to bore his friends. I hate nothing more than seeing someone laugh out loud whilst reading but this truly hilarious book made me stoop to such levels.
“I am at this moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.” - John Kennedy Toole

Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell
George’s first full novel describes his time “slumming it” in both Paris and London, although it’s a little picturesque at times its probably a lot worse than your French exchange trip or the month you spent living in a squat in Camberwell. Lots of bohemian characters interjected with lots of starvation, sleeping rough and alcohol abuse punctuate his time in both cities working in shitty restaurants for seventeen hour shifts. Probably worse than the catering agency you work for.
“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.” - George Orwell

Money - Martin Amis
This is a pretty grim read really. John Self, a young advertising director, jets back and forth from London and Paris, eats large amounts of junk food, sleeps with hookers, feeds his pornography habit, drinks extremely heavily, passes out and spends a lot of money. Sort of similar to American Psycho but without the ultra violence. Cynical to the point of no return.
“Money doesn’t mind if we say it’s evil, it goes from strength to strength. It’s a fiction, an addiction, and a tacit conspiracy.” - Martin Amis



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Blogger The Crew said...

read three outta those 5. still waiting for you to lend me Money....

10 June 2009 at 23:44  
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