When I think of the bookshelf in my mind and try to think of the stand outs,I could go on for ages.
These are the books that have changed, helped or inspired me in my life that I strongly feel everyone should read:
The Catcher in The Rye:J.D Salinger- I can safely say that while the badge of, “favourite book” has been given to others over the years,This is the original.
To try to explain my love for this book is almost exhausting. Not because of the teenage angst, or outsider label its been given.I fucking despise when people say that. It cheapens the Work and writes off a rawness that makes this a classic.
This novel is narrated by the main character, Holden Caulfield, telling of an event set in the not so far past after he was kicked out of a prestigious private school, from the mental health facility he is in.
This is one of the most relatable characters. I could be Holden,you could be Holden. One of my favourite quotes comes from this book and sums up my love for it: “Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas : Hunter S. Thompson- Hands down Thompson is my favourite author and journalist of all time. He created a genre of journalism, Gonzo,which mashes together subjective writing, classic objective journalism and fiction in a clusterfuck of brilliance.
This story takes place in the 70’s,on a weekend work trip to Vegas to report on a motorbike race. What ensues is a comedic whirlwind of grasping hopelessly to the ideals’ and promises of the 60’s, navigating the cheap tacky neon light of Vegas on enough drugs and alcohol to put Vegas itself to shame. Its undertones of energy come through to me. Truth laced with comedy. A coming of age story of sorts. The state of the physical world now and who we want to be in that.Some miss the point. They see or like the idea of the character of Thompson. Holding the character,the art as the man himself. That’s tragic to me. He was far more then content for a 16 year old stoners poster hanging in their room. Yet I digress.
A quote from this novel I love and try to live by,so much so its tattoo’d on me as a reminder. Good or bad,our choices are a course. To always learn,fail,grow.To live and not exist is: “No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten”
The Pleasures Of The Damned : Charles burkowski – This is a collection of poems. Maybe you’re not into poetry. Burkowski is different and is still one of the most criticized. He writes with a bluntness that is matched only by beautiful honesty. His words are like a smoke cloud lingering in a dim room. He’s as common as the drunk next door,and mysterious as big foot.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carrol- tells a story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a weird and odd fantasy world.
When I was a child this book meant the world to me. I was a kid who asked a million questions and would often be to curious.The imagery and anything goes,what’s up is down thing sparked my imagination and intrigue. I’d read it before bed or have it read to me and have the most vivid dreams.
As an adult what I love about this is the unbelievable amount of philosophy,symbolism. It’s so thought provoking.
Into The Wild: Jon Krakauer-This is the true story of Christopher McCandless. In the early 90’s after graduating university. Christopher abandoned his possessions, gave$24,000 to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska. *NOTE*- Read the book. Don’t watch the movie first no matter what. While I thought it was carried out well the ending is wrong on such a huge level.Anyway,back to the Point.
I read this book when I was 16 or 17. I get the dream of Alaska. For me it was and is British Columbia. To live and write in the Rockies. To remove yourself from the death sentence (at least to me it would be,I’m not judging others lives) of the 9-5 job, soulless shells wearing suits. To live life simply and to the fullest. I remember the first time I saw the Rockies on a trip I thought of This book. After a failed business that I lost myself in I cried look at this on my bookshelf. I became the sell out I hated.
This book serves as a reminder to stay true to your truth, make it YOUR truth and live it fiercely.
The Hobbit: J.R.R Tolkien- The first time I heard of this book was in 6th grade from our teacher. I’d like to call her eccentric,but truthfully she was an absolute nutter. However; giving credit where its due, Choosing to read this aloud instead of assigning it to a class of 11 year old who wouldn’t read it? Smart. Before I go any further, it’s obvious yet bears repeating, read this before you read The Lord of the rings trilogy. This is one of the best stories of adventure. Its undertones of good vs. evil ,light and dark. While at the age of 11 I didn’t interpret the same as I did when I was older, it was felt and prevalent. The idea of fantasy in fiction I felt was gone until I read this. It’s blend of fantasy, philosophy ( more so in the trilogy that follows) assured me and sparked my imagination.
Prozac Nation: Elizabeth Wurtzel- This book, I still don’t know how I came to find it while browsing a bookstore at 13.Luck? Fate? Who knows, but it came to me when I needed it. You know the feeling when your cold,no coat, shivering,but you won’t admit it? Than someone gives you a coat. That’s what this felt like.
This book is a Memoir of the authors struggle with depression and introduction to anti-depressants while attending Harvard. I’ve read a lot of criticism about this book. That Wurtzel cashed in on being whiny,self-absorbed. I once read,” There she is at Harvard, A school most people dream of what did she have to be depressed about?” And that is exactly the point. Self-absorbed? Depression absorbs the self. Depression doesn’t have a reason,it’s an illness.
When I read this book, at the time I didn’t tell anyone about my depression. I was thirteen,in my mind I thought, ” who the fuck is going to believe me? What do I have to be depressed about? Am I gone completely ?” This book which I read and reread was like the big sister I didn’t have, the one I could look to and say ” okay so someone does get me” this kept company for 6 months until I had enough courage to reach out for help. *NOTE* Do not,I repeat, do not watch the movie. It’s an abomination.