Warning: You Will Buy Books

January 13, 2016 § Leave a comment


People think Reddit is for lonely, fat trolls. It is. But it’s also home to some of the funniest, cleverest and most melancholy people I’ve ever come across.

Yesterday I stumbled upon a thread about book pairings. It had never occurred to me to turn to Reddit for literary criticism, but these guys had me buying four books in a row. Seeing books that have changed my life (White Oleander, Lolita) paired with mysterious titles, backed up by intelligent and beautifully written reasoning…it really got me going.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. I read them all back to back in a different order awhile back and it was a long, wicked torrent of drugs, sex, and jazz. Stick Kerouac’s Old Angel Midnight (short stream of consciousness poetry book) somewhere in the middle for good measure and proceed to lose your grip on life and reality. [DeusExBubblegum]

I’ve always read indiscriminately. Book pairing, the intelligent selection of a complementary piece of literature, is a completely new concept. Another side to this, beyond thirsting for more of what made my favourite books so important, is the realisation that a lot of these books go together because one was influenced by the other. Old school fan fiction – well! I’d never really thought of it in relation to real books, because they’re so…of another time, of another world.

But of course, writers as game-changing as Orwell, Salinger and Hardy are going to breed their own following, who eventually grow up to be incredible authors in their own right. And create their own amazing takes to extend one’s enjoyment beyond the original. Oh, life.

I’ve become one of those people who ‘don’t have time to read’. I love having a car but I’m probably about 20% stupider already, just from the last few months of not reading three books a week. Something has got to be done: I already had a pile of 10 books to read and I bought four more after reading this thread.

Open your wallet in preparation and read it.

(I bought The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenide, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, and A Separate Peace by John Knowles.)

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