Everyone loves a good book. Or at least I hope they do. These five are guaranteed to make you awesome-er in every way. Get ready…
Like it or not, Geek Love carved many new paths for the children of the 90s. While its writing can sometimes seem a bit overwrought and even convoluted (blame the editor), there’s no denying the absolute power of this punk rock literary masterpiece.
Written by Katherine Dunn, its the story of a circus couple who create their own freak show using various drugs and radioactive materials to alter the genes of their unborn children. Told by Oly, a hunchbacked albino dwarf, the tale unfolds around the dissolve of her family; brother and cult leader Arturo, a boy with flippers for hands and feet, Siamese twin sisters Elly and Iphy, and baby brother Chick, the normal looking one that happens to be telekinetic.
There’s so much going on this book, it has to be read to be believed. It’s a story of the ultimate outsiders, told with care and precision. Read it now.
It needs to be stated that it was not Kerouac that commanded so many with such lean prose, but William S. Burroughs with his much censored masterpiece, Queer. This book will make you fall in love with The Beats. Of course it didn’t see the light of day until much, much later than some of his other works, but it’s a seminal piece nonetheless.
The story is about Lee, an America expat in Mexico City who pursues the love of a Allerton. This is Burroughs’ post-heroin novel, and his frank and open narrative on finding love.
It’s important to note that this and all of William S. Burroughs’ works are not considered within the historically “gay” oeuvre, and in many ways makes it that much cooler.
The Virgin Suicides
One of the coolest books ever written about collective suicide, and being a teenager in love. They’re sometimes the same things, right? The story is timeless and ethereal, and will leave you wishing most other books were even half as good. Falling so hard for a book so quickly has never felt this right.
It’s told from the perspective of various boys in the neighborhood that have had a passion for the beautiful, tragic Lisbon girls, all which whom eventually kill themselves. The narration is set up as a kind of Greek chorus, of sorts, and keeps the reader engaged in continuously clever, fresh ways.
FYI, it’s better than the movie could ever hoped to have been. And though that’s not a surprise (the book is almost always better), there’s just something otherworldly in the pages of this novel.
Before you read Middlesex, before you read The Marriage Plot, pick up Jeffrey Eugenides’s finest.
The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner is probably one of the most imaginative writers of all time. He’s a master at narrative manipulation, and sometimes indulges in chaotic prose. The Sound and the Fury, arguably his best work ever, is one of the English language’s most challenging and rewarding pieces of literature, and perfectly illustrative of his monumental talent.
The Mississippi set novel is centered on the Compson Family and their servant, Dilsey, and spans the 30 years leading up to the family’s tragic demise. It is told from the points of view of the Compson sons and Dilsey (she switches to third person), and utilizes many narrative, and sometimes confusing, styles. From suicides, potential incestuous love, and even castration, this novel has everything that makes a southern gothic so incredibly engaging and awesome.
This is not an easy read, nor an easy journey. The narrative shifts in time at will, and was originally intended to be color-coded where those changes occur. However, that proved too cost prohibitive for the publishers, obviously. If you can make it to the end, you will not forget this novel. Ever.
Interview with the Vampire
Yes, this is technically a genre novel. However, it is one of the most beautiful, intricate works you may ever read about love and loss. It’s at once a tragedy, a drama, and an adventure, all wrapped in a great big horror tale.
The novel, written by the famed Anne Rice, spans over two centuries to tell the tale of the tortured vampire Louis and his existential troubles with blood-drinking and eternal life. Turned into the undead by the vampire Lestat, Louis is despondent over his immortality. When he turns Claudia, a small dying girl, into a vampire, his life is brightened for a short time, only to later ignite a whole new tragedy.
This is the vampire tale to end them all. With Louis and Lestat basically living as two dads, and Louis’s mysterious fascination with Armand, it can also be credited as giving way to the notion that vampires are in fact, much more progressive than their dinner supply.