Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fiction For The Revolution

As a kid I spent three quarters of my time on restriction.  My mother came home from work and rested her tired hand on the television to see if it was warm from me watching it.  But I had given up on sneaking in television time.  I had found books.  Books that was much dirtier and meaner than television.
When I reached my late teens and early twenties I got hooked up with a group of writers and we started talking about the books that shaped us as humans, and I was appalled by their recommendations.  I had read those books, but found them very over rated and outdated.  On the Road by Jack Kerouac was a terrible piece of writing along with all of Kerouac's other books.  Catcher in the Rye inspired not even a twitch in me.  Sometimes when I see the name of a bad writer like Saul Bellow in a great writers list I gag.
I understand I am eccentric to most people, so my recommendations of dead Russians and liver wasted fools fall on deaf ears.  But there are great books out there.  Books that are so rowdy they pick up their own pitchfork.  In a world were books multiply faster than bacteria I fear the next generations will be lost with the Harry Potters and the Sookie Stackhouses.  I fear the books that fuel the angsty rebellion are falling by the wayside.  Here are a few bruisers that I plan to give to my kid, and I welcome everyone to suggest more.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
This book may not get the fire started, but it does put the reader into a thinking state.  After years of having religion shoved down your throat, this book explains why Jesus said that you can't become a messiah in your hometown.  The half man part of Jesus bumbles around through his missing years trying to find himself.  Moore pulls in a good portion of the Gnostic Gospels along with his own interesting connectors.  If you're not laughing then you're not reading it right.

Eat the Document by Dana Spiota
Flipping around between two old lovers, Eat the Document gives us a look at radicals decades in hiding for the crimes of their youth.  They are different people now, and their ideals aren't what they used to be. 

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Tender Branson is the last of his religious cult/ pyramid scheme.  He is barreling toward the ocean near Australia and hopefully he will get his story finished before the plane goes down.  This is the best Palahniuk book ever written.  It makes you want to mock life and spit on it.  Tender Branson has been told what to do his entire life and don't know how to think for himself.  In fact Survivor shows all readers how they never really think for themselves.

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
Henry Chinaski (Bukowski's pseudonym) grows up in depression era California riddled with boils and an asshole for a father.  He finds his way through drinking and fighting.  This book is a must for any boy.

What books would you add?


  1. Like you, I hated On the Road. I like the blurb of your first recommendation, I might have to check it out and the others. And Ham on Rye is a must, although I like Post Office more. What's the age group we're talking about? When I was younger, I read every Vonnegut novel (but I don't want to re-read any of them now). Cat's Cradle was pretty good. I like the idea of Russians. I loved Crime and Punishment, but read that much later.

  2. Think I might hunt down a couple of them myself.

    For a book for an older child - The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nightime.
    Fiction - wrote from the perspective of a boy with Aspergers Syndrome. It's quite comical and very light reading, but shows you how the world appears to people with Aspergers. One of my favourites.