Saturday, March 26, 2011

Books for a Grown-Up Saturday

I'm feeling a little grown-up today, or perhaps just a bit groggy from a late night. But essentially aren't they the same thing? In honor of this rare occasion of feeling like an adult, I thought I'd share my thoughts on some 'big people' books that I've read relatively recently.

It's strange to me sometimes how my taste in children's books is very traditional in many ways, while my taste in literature has always leaned toward the bizarre, experimental, and obscure. They tend to be very dark stories written in unconventional means. These two selections aren't very different. Hope you enjoy...after all, everyone should take a chance now and then with a book outside their comfort zone. You may be pleasantly surprised--or horrified. Either way, it's worth the risk.

by Tito Perdue

This is the story of Lee as he journeys to college and sets off to discover the world. What he finds is a place that both thrills him with its possibilities and disgusts him with its pointless conventions and promises of empty lives. Lee is one of those characters who embodies the idealism and invisibility one feels at that time in life, when the world suddenly seems to open up to expose itself. But the wonderful thing about The Sweet-Scented Manuscript is that it allows the reader to identify with Lee, root for him, yet always be aware of the flaws in his view of the world.

But as with other Tito Perdue novels, the story is secondary to the art of his writing. He has a talent for wording every sentence is such a way that it makes you ponder it. The phrasing is odd. The rhythm is always changing. Yet it's always great writing. He reminds me of Richard Brautigan in that way. Also like Brautigan, he is able to show us our world in a way that makes it feel unfamiliar.
by Nick Cave

A departure from Cave's previous, brilliant novel (And the Ass Saw the Angel), The Death of Bunny Munro is a modern story of a rather loathsome character who the reader cannot help but identify with despite wishing we didn't see ourselves in him. But we do, or at least, I did. Perhaps that says more about me than the book.

In nearly every way, this novel reminded me of Irvine Welsh's novels. Bunny was like the bastard offspring of Juice Terry, Rent Boy, and Bigby all rolled into one, only with more heart. Bunny's not at all a bad guy, just ill equipped to live in the world.

The tale is a fast-paced blitz through the insanity of our modern society, espousing the adventures of a man on a collision course with his own destruction and his nine-year-old son along for the ride who is desperately trying to make sense of asylum like world he suddenly inhabits.

-I just found this world a hard place to be good in- Bunny Munro says at one point, summing up the essence of this very worthwhile novel.

Don't we all sometimes, don't we all.

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