Posts Tagged 'book'

Want.

I wish I had $150+ as this item has just become available on eBay:

The Necronomicon

This particular Necronomicon is “hand-bound in two colors of real hand-stitched leather and finished with high quality archival red felt.The sigil of The Necronomicon and the Elder Sign have been emblazoned on the front and back cover respectively. Each and every one of it’s 148 pages has been filled with original artwork, custom engravings, occult signs and circles, eldritch symbols and authentic occult texts in Latin. A few passages are in Old English as would be authentic to the time period of the piece.” Awesome.

Make a SAN check.

It was made for an off-Broadway production of H.P.Lovecraft’s The Hound, which looked kinda sweet and comes with all sorts of documentation (certificates of authentication, photos of it being used in the production, etc.). If you have more money than I do (and maybe feel like giving me a present) then head over to the item here: http://cgi.ebay.com/Hand-Made-Leather-Bound-Lovecraft-Necronomicon-/200592250129?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb43ad511

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The Pigeon

Moar Süskind

 You’ve had it! You’re too old and you’ve had it, letting yourself be frightened to death by a pigeon…

A pretty short novella, The Pigeon is the story of Jonathan Noel, a meticulously organised, largely friendless and introverted security guard who has worked the same job, standing on the same three steps of the same bank for decades. This book is extremely Kafkaesque in its approach; Jonathan’s life is turned upside down when contrary to any of his preconceptions he is startled to find a pigeon sat in the hallway of his apartment building. When the line between reality and surreality (sic) is blurred in the context of almost painfully everyday, nondescript life is something that always interests me. This book achieves that in our protagonist’s almost hysterical response to the appearance of this bird. It also managed the same thing that Camus’ The Outsider did for me, which was encapsulate a quintessentially Parisian/French approach to everyday life (and in particular food). Obviously the main merits of this book however lie in the way it manages to extrapolate the significance of seemingly insignificant moments of disorder in the life of Jonathan; and show us how precariously close we perhaps all teeter toward the edge of sanity, cushioned and numbed as we our by our own habitual lives and firmly held beliefs in the perceived natural order of everyday existence. Jonathan Noel’s existential terror and blind panic in the face of his disrupted routine could quite easily be our own.

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburo Oë

It seemed to me that our single grave was going to spread out forever all over the world. 

This book was a little hard to get a hold of (I have had it on my ‘want’ list for nearly a year before I could get a new copy) and once I started it I was immediately hit by how bleak and stark Oë’s wartime Japan was compared to the other books that I have read since Christmas. Compared to the junky numbness of Naked Lunch, the time-travelling surrealism of Slaughterhouse 5, the aromatic richness of Perfume, and the encapsulated Americana paranoia of The Crying of Lot 49, this book pulls very few punches.

It is not that it has a lack of attention to detail, or a tendency to stick to the mundane (it is also not to say that some of the aforementioned books didn’t have their bleak moments; not at all). This is the cold hard slap of real life as experienced by you, the reader. Nip the Buds… is the story of a group of reformatory boys who are sent to a rural village in the mountains to work during the war, where they are reviled by the locals. Soon after their arrival, plague breaks out and the boys are abandoned and barricaded in by the villagers, left to die. As the blurb puts it so well, ‘The boys’ brief and doomed attempt to build autonomous lives of self-respect, love and tribal valour fails in the face of death and the adult nightmare of war.’ 

There are obvious comparisons to be cast here with Lord of the Flies, amongst others, and its obvious anger, its painful confrontation of Japanese society and the myriad reasons that made Oë the winner of 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature make this a book that everyone should (if they can) pick up and give a read. Also, it’s one hell of a literary debut.

Perfume

Perfume by Patrick Süskind

Forgive my literary heathen ways, but I had never heard of Patrick Süskind until I read a recommendation for both this and The Pigeon on, of all places, the old Anaal Nathrakh forum boards in the book thread. Little did I know that there was a film version from 2006, that the book itself was written in 1985 and is pretty well-known, and that it has even inspired songs by artists as varied as Nirvana, Air and Rammstein.

Continue reading ‘Perfume’

Slaughterhouse 5

Slaughterhouse 5, or the Children's Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut

So it goes.

In Kurt Vonnegut’s classic anti-war novel, along with each of the other books that I have read so far this year, there is a recurring theme. The lead character is, or at least could very well be, completely unhinged. If it’s not that they have lost the plot (perhaps some time ago) it is that they are losing it, never had it, are under the influence of drugs or alien forces, or perhaps are just hallucinating the entire thing.

Continue reading ‘Slaughterhouse 5’

The Crying of Lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

 My shrink, pursued by Israelis, has gone mad: my husband, on LSD, gropes like a child further and further into the rooms and endless rooms of the elaborate candy house of himself and away, hopelessly away, from what has passed, I was hoping forever, for love; my one extra-marital fella has eloped with a depraved fifteen-year-old; my best guide to the Trystero has taken a Brody. Where am I?”

This whole book is a pretty hallucinogenic, stream of consciousness, lucid dream-like stumble upon what may or may not be a great conspiracy… But to start at the beginning, as is the norm, the ‘Lot 49’ of the title is the number of a lot in an auction that occurs at the very end of the book. The lead character, a one Mrs Oedipa Mass (a name that makes me reconsider my somewhat cop-out naming decisions in my own work here) is present at this auction as she has unexpectedly been made executor (executrix?) of an ex-boyfriend’s will and testament, and his items are being sold. The lot in question, number 49 – the significance of which many still disagree upon, is a collection of stamps that may or may not have been deliberately misprinted.

Continue reading ‘The Crying of Lot 49’

Naked Lunch

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

Ten pounds lost in ten minutes standing with the syringe in one hand holding his pants up with the other, his abdicated flesh burning in a cold yellow halo, there in the New York hotel room… 

You need to read this book.

You also need to read this book for yourself, as this quasi-overview/review thing that I usually churn out simply won’t even begin to encapsulate what is happening within the pages of this book. So I think I’ll leave it very short this time.

You should probably know that this is a gorgeously deranged tab of cut-up junky literature that features a not insignificant amount of pederasty, as well as the obvious heavy drug use. If these kind of things might put you off a book, then suck it up and read it anyway. It was the last book (text only) to be tried under obscenity laws in the US. Whatever you might think of these things, the writing is truly important and just to reiterate –

You need to read this book.


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