Good reads: Selby Jr., Frey and Keruoac

Something I’ve realized after summarizing my book taste: I enjoy reading biographical styles involving misfortunes such as drug abuse, unhealthy relationships and tragedies. Of course, there has to be some sort of love interest in the mist of all the chaos, and if its a really good book, it’ll still have a happy ending. Here are my top picks for love, adventure and drug/alcohol-induced drama.

1) Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr. > Like most people, I found this movie utterly disturbing the first time I saw it, definitely being one of those, “Wow, I am NEVER doing drugs” type of movies. However, unlike most people (being way too young and catching the movie halfway through on HBO) I thought the movie was about an old lady on acid and her severely messed up grandkid. Although my first judgement was based on completely incorrect context, after seeing it in its entirety, it still wasn’t a favorite of mine. I found the book at a Goodwill in Long Beach and decided to give it a try after 2+ years of reading nothing but fashion-related textbooks. I remember the day I finished it, I was so sad that I actually wanted to restart it immediately. I didn’t, but I did declare it one of my all-time favorite books. One of my favorite quotes:

They luxuriated in the feeling of deep and all pervading satisfaction, a feeling of knowing absolutely that all was well with the world and them and that the world was not only their oyster it was also their linguine with clam sauce. Not only were all things possible, but all things were theirs.

2) All The Little Pieces by James Frey > This one took me awhile to break down and read, since I “hated” him because Oprah did. Soo glad I got over that. This book was so well written that I literally found myself overwhelmed with emotion – mouth open, edge of my seat and all. However, I can understand why Oprah would be upset. Reading it thinking it was a true story would drastically change your impression during the course of reading the book. Some of the scenes (ex. when James goes to the dentist and receives two root canals without any Novocaine or pain medication. Or the last scene involving his love interest and suicide) are so intense that if you were thinking the story was true, you’d be so overwhelmed with sympathy for James that you’d want to personally write him a letter or visit him and give him a great big hug. So it’s better off you know the story is embellished. Regardless, enough is true that you do feel for James. But why didn’t he just call the story an effin’ novel!? Or simply state, “based on a true story.” Whateve. Still love the book. If you haven’t already read it, you need to. These two quotes pretty much some up why its great:

“Addiction is a decision. An individual wants something, whatever that something is, and makes a desicion to get it. Once they have it, they make a decision to take it. If they take it too often, that process of decision making gets out of control, and if it gets far out of control, it becomes an addiction. At that point the decision is a difficult one to make, but it is still a decision. Do I or don’t I. Am I going to take or am I not going to waste my life or am I going to say no and try and stay sober and be a decent person. It is a decision. Each and every time. A decision. String enough of those decisions together and you set a course and you set a standard of living. Addict or human. Genetics do not make that call. They are just an excuse. They allow people to say it wasn’t my fault I am genetically predisposed. It wasn’t my fault I was programmed from day one. It wasn’t my fault I didn’t have any say in the matter. Bullshit. Fuck that bullshit. There is always a decision. Take responsibility for it. Addict or human. It’s a fucking decision. Each and every time.”

“We stare into each other’s eyes and softly kiss speaking and saying more with the movement of our lips and the tips of our fingers than words will allow us to say. Words can’t say this. The one word love means too little for what it is. It means everything and that is still not enough. It doesn’t communicate even a fraction of the feelings involved. Love. The word is not enough for what it is. Love. Love.” (tear!)

3) On The Road by Jack Kerouac > An obvious classic, being one of the most defining books of the Beat Generation. The story is semi-biographical (see! James Frey should’ve followed Kerouac’s example) about Sal Paradise (Keruoac) and Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) and their adventures across the country, with scenes involving roadtrips, jazz, poetry, crazy girlfriends, drugs, sex, Mexico, prostitutes, alcohol, etc. The story refers many other Beat writers, including Carlo Marx (Allen Ginsberg), Old Bull Lee (William S. Burroughs) and Damion (Lucien Carr). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the history of the Beats, this is definitely the book to start with. Just don’t blame me when the next thing you know you’re in your car heading to San Francisco.. Here’s my favorite quote:

then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!

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