Here is the second half of my summer reads section. These books are more of my personal favorites rather than the classics but maybe you’ll enjoy them as well. Or at least it will give you some ideas of whats good (or maybe in your opinion, not good)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Bret Easton Ellis is one of my favorite author’s which might tell you a little bit how dark I am. I lumped all of these books together because, well, once you’ve read one.. and you know you’re into it.. you should really read all of them. There is a lot of name dropping and over privileged, jaded kids but if you like that, or can get over it (and some other pretty sick and twisted shit) these books are some modern day masterpieces. I suggest starting with Less than Zero altho Glamorama was my favorite.
6. 7. Story of my Life and Bright Lights, Big City- Jay McIreney
Jay McIreney was one of Bret Easton Ellis’s contemporaries and I simply love him just as much. If it wasn’t clear, when I lived in NYC I went through a little bit of a dark, experimental phase. So, like Ellis, his books are also equally as dark. The story of my life is my favorite.
The novel is narrated in the first-person from the point of view of Alison Poole, “an ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year-old.”Alison is originally from Virginia and lives in Manhattan, where she is involved in several sexual relationships and is aspiring to become an actress. She falls in love with bond trader and Shakespeare expert Dean, but soon they betray each other. The novel implies that the cause of Poole’s “party girl” behavior is her father’s abuse, including the killing of her prize jumping horse. How can that not be the start to a book you can’t put down?
8. Blindness- Jose Saramago
This is my best friends absolutely favorite book. It is also one I’m reading again right now. From Nobel Prize–winning author José Saramago, a magnificent, mesmerizing parable of loss much like the Plague by Camus. It is all about how people deal with an epidemic that strikes a community.
Here’s a quick recap:
A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. Pretty gruesome. Sadly possibly realistic too.
9. 10. Black Boy and a Native Son- Richard Wright
I just love Richard Wright so maybe that’s why I’d suggest either of these books. Black Boy and Native Son are his most well-known texts.
Here’s a little recap on Richard Wright: African-American writer and poet Richard Wright was born on September 4, 1908, in Roxie, Mississippi, and published his first short story at the age of 16. Later, he found employment with the Federal Writers Project and received critical acclaim for Uncle Tom’s Children, a collection of four stories. He’s well known for the 1940 bestseller Native Son and his 1945 autobiography Black Boy. Wright died in Paris, France, on November 28, 1960.
Both books are pretty fucked up… in one a body gets cut up and cremated, the other is the story of oppression in the south. Not sure why i’m so into these books but they really interested me. Quick reads too.
11. Sometimes a Great Notion- Ken Kesey
I went to school in the Northwest so it was almost a right of passage to read this book.
Ken Kesey’s first book was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest so there were big expectations for this one and he definitely delivered.
This story of a fight between striking loggers and an independent family logging business takes on mythic dimensions. Kesey pulls out all the stops in this novel.
I’m not a literary critic but Mr. Kesey is able to switch the action of the story in a second to a completely different character as well as a different locality in just a short piece of dialogue. It is writing that at times is a bit over my head so maybe this one is an ALL summer read.
He also is able to get into the mind of the whole town of Wakonda, Oregon (where the main action takes place): the dialogue and internal monologue of everyone from Hank Stamper to the dog Molly is revealed and woven seamlessly into the story.
Following from an identifiable beginning to an end, the narrative nevertheless jumps forward and backward in time, leaving clues such as letters and a photo album which eventually reveal crucial facts later in the novel. The point of view changes from character to character, switching between first person as well as third person narrative.
There is a ton of foreshadowing, punctuated by moments of pure joy and moments of pure beauty. Kesey is definitely a master storyteller