A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Why haven’t you read this yet? I will admit, it took me more years than I am proud claiming to finally pick up and seethe with the savage sexuality that is Burgess’ dystopian A Clockwork Orange. While short, the book is a forceful and visceral account of young ruffians on a wild rollick of sex and violence set in a near-future England. It brings into question the concept of violence in society and forces the reader into an uncomfortable kinship with the anti-hero, Alex, as he undergoes a government “rehabilitation.” Written in an experimental language of fictional slang, allow yourself to follow the mood of the story to understand the words. The satisfaction of coming to terms with Burgess’ “Nadsat” culture will be far more intoxicating if you meet it in the raw.
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
The French do everything better, and it is no exception in the case of philosopher Sartre’s fictional account of a man realizing with great disgust the encroachment of the inanimate upon his being. Written in 1938, this existential novel was Sartre’s first and most well-loved. As wondrously written – dripping with an eerie and oddly romantic prose – as it is fearless, this slim little tale will leave you brimming over with the frothiness of Sartre’s revelation of existence.
The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This is perhaps one of the greatest books ever written. ‘Ere since first we met in 2007, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has become my lifelong lover; I grow fat and happy on the rich milk that flows from his pen. Weaving a haunting, raw and ultimately sad tale of a great dictator’s descent into a swirling world of madness and childlike power rushes, Marquez stretches to the very tippy toes of his grand skill in a lush cavalcade of prose. Make no mistake, the master of Magical Realism will never fail to paint a portrait of life both salty and strangely, unmistakably entrancing. This is now my favorite book. Ever. This book is a challenge, though, and not for the faint of heart; if you, dear reader, are not prepared to plunge into a dizzying account of lunacy in the form of roughly 15 run-on sentences over some 300 pages, save it for later. Start with One Hundred Years of Solitude or Love in the Time of Cholera as an aperitif into Marquez before diving into Patriarch. Either way, you will never want with Marquez.
Don’t let your shelves grow fusty, my friends. Make it your resolution to read, read more, and read more than just the marshmallow fluff and cotton ball bunny tails that fill so many pages on those deceptive “bestseller lists”. Venture into a labyrinth for your mind and let your Netflix queue idle for a change.
Long live the book and Happy New Year!
Photo: Courtesy of www.jeanniejeannie.com
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