The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
I liked this book, as much as you can like being inside the head of a psychopath about to self-destruct. Thompson seems to make it real so easily, a bit like Cormac McCarthy, a broad picture is somehow painted using very little excess of words or descriptions.
I made the mistake of watching the movie right after I read the book. I thought Casey Affleck was cast well, but that was about it. The power of the book lies in the fact that all the violence happens with you in Lou’s head, but in the movie you have to watch it as a bystander, forcing you to empathise with the people Lou destroys as he does it, rather than experience the cool detachment Lou feels before it builds to a frantic, white noise climax.
The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
This was another suggestion from someone on Twitter.
I have historically had huge issues with Russian to English translations. For a while everything I read left the characters cold and detached; however, I loved Master. It’s a very odd tale about the sudden appearance of Satan in Moscow, along with a scary cast of his minions., including my favourites Behemoth (a giant gun-toting black cat) and Azazel who has fangs and who doesn’t love fangs?
It’s primarily a satire about bureaucracy, but it’s also a really fun romp through religious iconography and is strangely funny and quite sweet. Except if you are the poet who loses his head.
The Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
People on Twitter have excellent taste in books, for this was yet another suggestion.
I’d heard of Chabon, but I also hadn’t read much fiction in years, so I didn’t know what to expect, both from him or the plot, which is, in a nutshell, the story of two Jewish comic book creators who take on the insidious creep of the Nazis.
There are fun nods and winks throughout if you’re a comic book fan, but regardless, the plot was very intriguing and the characters beautifully broken and torn.
The Fran Lebowitz Reader – Fran Lebowitz
I love satirical books that have dated slightly, in a way it makes them even funnier. The Lebowitz Reader combines two of Fran’s books, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, and is basically Fran Lebowitz Guide to Maintaining Wide-Eyed Innocence While Mocking Everyone and Everything.
I’ve always loved Fran. I love her photos at parties and on best dressed lists because her facial expression is always bemused, like ‘What? I’m just about to drink this, are you done?’. After reading this, I wanted to write her a letter and ask if she wanted to be my best friend, please tick ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
I highly recommend this to both my sisters, and to you, and also to my mum. I laughed aloud every time she mentioned how she doesn’t like children because they don’t smoke.
Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible + Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock – Chris Connelly
I thought this book was going to be so interesting. Although I’m a mild Ministry fan at best, their music has a place in my life, normally twice a year after a lot of bourbon, but I thought an insight into the era preceeding the creation of the band would make for a curious read. Turns out the title doesn’t lie. Connelly’s mind is fried and he writes like that horrible drunk dude who’s somehow at every party and who tells his two interesting stories over and over and then cries because his mum wouldn’t let him get a puppy 20 years ago.
This book was bad. I was expecting it to land somewhere in Neil Strauss territory, a bloated, hyper-egotistical, but generally amusing look at white male excess. Instead Connelly can barely string a sentence together and seems to forget that the reader wasn’t there, so the in-jokes make no sense, nor do his random references to people who suddenly appear and are never mentioned again. It should have been a sign that I needed to put it down and walk away when I got to page 12 and J. G. Thirlwell’s name was misspelled.
Basically the book seems to exist as a rather limp attempt to get under Al Jourgensen’s skin. Play nasty in private boys.