- 6It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. The team crisscrosses the country any number of times, picking up strays along the ways and learning of life and love. On the Road is often considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiments. While many of the names and details of Kerouac's experiences are changed for the novel, hundreds of references in On the Road have real-world counterparts. There is an ongoing discussion of the true relationship between Kerouac's alter ego Sal Paradise and the lead hunk of the story, Dean Moriarty. Dean was based on a guy named Neal Cassady, and he's found in several Beat books and legends (including The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test). Some interpreters believe maybe this was more than a friendship, but I personally feel that while Kerouac clearly loved and admired Cassady, I don't know that the sexual line was ever really crossed other than silly cuddles and kisses. You'll have to read the book and decide for yourself. It was the '50s.BUY @ amazon
People visit Kerouac's grave and leave shoes, smokes, wine, food - anything he may need on his trips. On the Road defined a generation and described the longing of that time. Kerouac wrote the original manuscript on a scroll, and his dog literally ate the ending. It was bought in 2001 by Jim Irsay (owner of the Indianapolis Colts) for $2.43 million and now tours the country.
In 2012, the book was made into a film with horrid actors like Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst. There are some saving graces such as Amy Adams and Steve Buscemi, but the leads are all pretty bad, so I highly recommend reading the book and skipping the film.
- 7Easily one of the greatest books I've ever read, and the most beautifully written. The story is influenced by real events in the life of Gregory David Roberts. In 1978, Roberts was sentenced to 19-year imprisonment in Australia after being convicted of a series of armed robberies of building society branches, credit unions, and shops. In July 1980, he escaped from Victoria’s Pentridge Prison in broad daylight, thereby becoming one of Australia's most wanted men for the next ten years. The book follows Roberts - using the false identity Lindsay Hood - through India, in which he creates a medical clinic in one of India's many slums and chases after a girl. The novel is commended by many for its vivid portrayal of tumultuous life in Bombay.BUY @ amazon
The book is long, but so worth it; you will devour every word and even reread the novel.
- 8This is a book about a book about a movie that doesn't exist. It's incredible. The format and structure of the novel is unconventional, with unusual page layout and style. It has a lot footnotes, many of which contain footnotes themselves, and some of which reference other books that do not exist. The footnotes are from fictional editors and from one of the main characters. Sounds confusing, but trust me, it's not, and it's amazing. Some pages contain only a few words or lines of text, arranged in strange ways to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect. The novel is also distinctive for its multiple narrators, who interact with each other throughout the story in disorienting and elaborate ways.BUY @ amazon
While some have attempted to describe the book as a horror story, many readers - as well as the author- would define the book as a love story (if forced to add such a label). Danielewski expands on this point in an interview: "I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, 'You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.' And she's absolutely right. In some ways, genre is a marketing tool."
- 9There are at least half a dozen books by Haruki Murakami that should be on this list. But I'll use this one to represent them all.BUY @ amazon
In a Tokyo suburb, a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon, he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute, a malevolent yet mediagenic politician, a cheerfully morbid 16-year-old-girl, and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.
The Psychopath TestFrom the publishers:BUY @ amazon
In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.Need I say more?
The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.
Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.
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