Who needs serious or wrist-slitting depression? Elevate!
I like to read, and if you enjoy BeachGrit, which is more than a little text heavy, I can only assume you do too. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite books. Good books, to be sure, but not heavy reading by any means. Reading should be fun, provide escapism, make you laugh.
There’s a place for seriousness, but we don’t all have the fortitude to slog our way through Joyce, or try to understand what the fuck Pynchon is talking about, or deal with the wrist-slitting depression Bukoswki brings to the table.
#1 Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne
What begins as a funny but relatively realistic bildungsroman slowly but surely moves into the realm of the absurd. This might be my favorite book of all time. It follows Nick Twisp, a no more than averagely horny fourteen-year-old boy, through a series of increasingly serious and ridiculous misadventures, all motivated by little more than his desire to get his dick wet.
#2 Dune by Frank Herbert
You’ve probably read Dune, it’s one of the most famous and critically acclaimed scifi novels ever written. Herbert manages to tell an exciting tale of space wars, knife fights and giant sand worms, all wrapped up in an allegory about the danger humanity faces every time they lift someone to the status of “hero.”
The first book in the series is the easiest to swallow, as it progresses it wanders into philosophically strange territory. I love them all, but the later installments aren’t for everyone. But Dune... anyone who says they don’t love it is a filthy liar.
#3 Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb is the second nom de plume of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden, one of the most hyper-prolific and soul crushing talented writers in the world. Each year she drops a new book, each year it is absolutely superb. Assassin’s Apprentice is the first instalment in her Realm of the Elderlings series, which currently numbers fifteen novels. It’ll suck you in and leave you crying and she manages to make you love her characters, then subjects them to utter anguish.
#4 Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn
Set in a pre-gentrification Huntington Beach, Tapping the Source follows Ike Tucker, a desert rat turned surfer in an attempt to find who is responsible for his sisters death. It doesn’t wax poetic about ersatz soul, it portrays surfers as they generally are, self-involved hedonistic scumbags. Violent, cruel, graphic. It is, in my opinion, Nunn’s finest work.
#5 Can’t You Get Along With Anyone by Allan Weisbecker
Just kidding, this book fucking sucks.
Like most, I was a huge fan of In Search Of Captain Zero. Great story, especially if you take the author at his word and assume it’s all true. Which it, of course, isn’t. Writers are, by nature, professional liars and you shouldn’t trust a word they say.
I’ve got a longstanding personal beef with Weisbecker, and by all indications I’m one of many. CYGAWA is, ostensibly, a memoir, but is in reality a pile of self-indulgent garbage penned by a misanthropic prick with little to no personal insight.
The following Amazon review does a good job of explaining the situation:
My biggest beef, I suppose, is this: Weisbecker makes a big deal–A REALLY BIG DEAL–about the ins and outs of good writing. Talks a lot about building suspense, carrying the reader along, giving the reader a pay-off at the end. He talks about his obligation to the reader. And yet, when it comes to executing those very things he preaches (in a manner so pompous I can only assume his picture is used to illustrate the entry for “blowhard” in Wikipedia), he completely drops the ball.
About half way through I got sick of his mewling self-pity. About three quarters of the way through I decided to stop reading. At the end, with him curled in a ball, unable to confront his toxic, two-timing lover, I all but threw the book across the room shouting “That’s it? That’s it, you complete pussy?”