Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Influential Books I Have Read - And May Just Read Again!

Poet and cool film expert Richard Lopez asked for a list of influential books, which I think I've posted about on this blog before. Here are the results I've dredged up in a search of the Lewd Enlightenment postings.

This list of "Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me" was posted back on June 4, 2005:

Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt by Richard Brautigan. My favorite book of poetry. The title poem is also one of my favorites.

The Stranger by Albert Camus. A very well-crafted novel, that poignantly suggests man's isolation in the universe. Depressing or freeing? Yes.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Tight prose, outrageous humor, sickening descriptions of bodily functions, futuristic mayhem, pornographic afterthoughts. A little something for everyone.

The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. The book that provided the basis for Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Absolutely the most frightening and haunting war book I've ever read.

After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson. Excellent pulp noir with all the right ingredients in place: a mentally unbalanced former boxer, a boozing seductress, a former cop turned small-time crook, and a kidnapping gone awry.

This "5 Books I Would Take to a Deserted Island" list comes from March 18, 2005:

1. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs – I never tire of reading this book.
2. Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters – French with English translation, j’adore Rimbaud.
3. Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt by Richard Brautigan – Despite the fact that four of the 85 poems collected therein consist only of titles. Wait, maybe because of that fact.
4. The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry – If I’m going to have a bible, let it be this one.
5. The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book - Quoth Mr. Natural: "Nov shmoz k'pop."

I know I've read many important books over the years - while simultaneously missing out on even more important ones. But these lists are pretty consistent, not unlike my Top 10 Films list.

Off the top of my head (i.e. I'm too lazy to get up and go look at my bookshelves), I would probably add Demian by Herman Hesse, The Trial by Franz Kafka, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I've read most of these books at least a couple of times.



Anonymous Chris Caratzas said...

What? No "Tropic of Cancer"? Sheesh ... In all seriousness, I have read and agree with several of the choices. Also, how did "Journey to the End of the Night" not make it?

6:35 PM  
Blogger Sugar Mouse In The Rain said...

I have read Demian twice too. Hesse is a favorite of mine. Pick something for Chaim Potok.

1:56 PM  

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