Some novels people should read, if only for the hell of it. (Part 2)
Gogol gets credit here just because he’s a surrealist. As Vonnegut was a surrealist, so was Gogol. His stories are Russian, so you have to get around that part, but if you do, you’ll see that he writes with a real heavy sense of meter and rhyme, extending into sets of rhyming images. He quotes Pushkin, and sets up ideas for books like "A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man", and "Picture of Dorian Gray" which have similar threads in Gogol. Read either author, I don’t care. One’s kind of gritty and writes about Russian Vikings, and duels, and something so bad they can only translate it as poshlost, a made up word - and the other is a queer aestheticist who wore a cape around.
Norman Mailer’s, "The Naked and the Dead":
I re-read this book awhile ago, while blindingly drunk, for the first time since I had read it sober in seventh grade. It makes more sense now. It’s a great story. Mailer never fought a war but writes a war movie that, in comparison to war movies around at the time, is excruciatingly painful. WW2 break down in fights over nothing, men killed randomly after long boring pauses full of toil, and one guy even ****s himself and then gets his head blown off while he’s changing his pantaloons. It’s full of interesting characters that aren’t at all psychopaths, and inspired both "Saving Private Ryan" and "A Thin Red Line". It’s worthy to note since you’ll probably hit up Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse at some point.
So these guys paved a pretty clear pathway in existential thought that many, like Emerson and Whitman, refused to follow, and that’s why their style is dead and now we’ve got **** like "The Da Vinci Code" doing the thinking for us. Which reminds me.
Umberto ****ing Eco, for "Foucault’s Pendulum" and virtually anything the guy has written:
Dan Brown, the commiserate author of "The
Da Vinci Code" basically stole everything he’s ever written from Umberto Eco’s big idea chest.
See, Eco is this really smart Italian, who just happens to know a ****-ton about things like The Knights Templar, The Merovingian Line of The Christ, and The Quest for the ****ing Holy Grail. He reads things like 13th century parchments found in old monasteries and quotes books that aren’t even in print, or maybe even like etchings from mother****ing sandstone tablets.
He’s a really cool guy, and if you like detective thrillers that don’t suck, and don’t star Tom Hanks, and maybe feature a guy hanging himself while trying to write a computer program to destroy all form of conspiracy in print, maybe you’d like Umberto Eco.
That's all for right now. I ruined all the endings. So sad.
Next I’m reading the Tetrabiblos and some
Ayn Rand if I can find it. Then I plan to go for Voltaire again, since I forgot most of him, and some stuff after that.
You can listen to a webcast of a month long existential lecture on "The Brothers Karamazov" on Berkley’s website. It’s pretty boring but kind of cool if you’d like to read "War and Peace’s" evil twin. Plus the webcast goes into film and some short stories too.
I ain’t payin for no college.
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