Clearly, I’m going to use this opportunity to try and sell some books because self-employment is great and I’d like to maintain it. But I’m going to get that out of the way by telling you to click here or on the picture below if you’d like to snag a book:
Now with the shameless self-promotion done with, I can share some books I think are worth your time (other than mine of course). I’ll avoid too much detail as to not spoil anything for you, and will simply post book descriptions for the titles I will inevitably ruin the plot of if I try to get too detailed.
1.) Sailor Song by Ken Kesey
As a writer this book is borderline discouraging due to the skillful nature with which Kesey utilizes language. I’ve never read any other book that manages to play with such a diversity of tones and styles all in one place. And while that sounds like it could be messy, Kesey is king and this book is proof of that.
“After writing two books in the early 1960s, both now established as American classics, Ken Kesey abandoned the novel in its established form. Over the past twenty-five years he has written many shorter pieces, but only now, with Sailor Song, brings his considerable powers once again to bear on a full-scale undertaking, giving us a unique and powerful novel about America. Set in the near future, the story takes us to the Alaskan village of Kuinak, a rundown fishing community of Deaps (Descendants of Early Aboriginal Peoples) and Lower Forty-eight refugees perched on the Western Edge of history. It’s a scene rich with characters, like Alice the Angry Aleut, Ike Sallas (known as “the Bakatcha Bandit” during the environmental wars of the nineties), the town’s indispensable “scoot” runner Billy the Squid, and the Loyal Order of Underdogs, who meet monthly for the Full Moon Howl. Into their peculiar midst sails a mighty ship of last hopes, loaded to the gunwales with a big-bucks Hollywood film company. This famous studio/yacht has come north to film a classic childrenas book, The Sea Lion. Unscripted transformations abound as the project stirs a new mix into the community, including a tribe brought down from the remote north. Sailor Song is an epic novel that revolves around the question: Does love make any sense at the end of the world? It’s about things that endure and come around again – back at you, and back to you.” ~ from Google Books
2.) Candide by Voltaire
There’s been very few people in the history of literature and anti-establishment thought as important as Voltaire, and make no mistake, Candide is a masterwork. Voltaire is a champion of satire and Candide serves as an example of that as it brilliantly showcases the perils of blind optimism through a worldwide odyssey filled with all sorts of perverse turmoil.
“Though he’s the illegitimate nephew of a German baron, Candide grows up in a castle under the tutelage of the scholar Pangloss. Pangloss is so enraptured by the EnlightenmentÑan era of prosperity and intellectual growthÑthat he proclaims the world to be “the best of all possible worlds.” As an adult, Candide tries to cling to this optimistic philosophy despite experiencing a series of horrible misfortunes while striving to be reunited with the woman he loves. The French novel Candide satirizes the philosophies of the Enlightenment and humorously criticizes the nobility, religious viewpoints, and politics of the time.” ~ from Google Books
3.) Powerful Peace by J. Robert DuBois
This is something I’ve been reading recently and it’s a book I think should be mandatory reading for any person pursuing a career in law enforcement. Essentially, it’s a brilliant guide to conflict resolution from the perspective of a Navy SEAL. The lessons in this book apply to more than just war, and in general are lessons we can all benefit from.
4.) Dominion by Bentley Little
Bentley Little is considered a master of macabre, so much that Stephen King is a big fan. Now I read Dominion back when I was in high school over a decade ago, but it’s so engrossing that I actually got kicked out of Spanish class because I didn’t want to stop reading it. The long and short of it is that Dionysus (the Greek God of getting drunk and doing perverse shit) is reincarnated as a teenage boy. I won’t say much more, but shit goes down and for fans of horror (or good stories in general) this is an absolute must-read.
5.) Mother Night and Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, which is why I will include both Mother Night and Breakfast of Champions as the fifth and final spot on this list. One of the main reasons I love Vonnegut is due to his unique ability to take such complex philosophical and moral points and deduce them down to a sentence. Mother Night is an amazing example of that skill. Written from the perspective of an World War 2 American Nazi propagandist being held for war crimes, Mother Night forces the audience to decide the narrator’s guilt by the end, which seems easy but as you’ll learn is much more complicated. Breakfast of Champions on the other hand is a favorite of mine simply because Vonnegut seems to poke fun at everything, including himself. This playfully existential work is either hated or loved by fans of Vonnegut, which makes me like it even more.