Buying Books For The Road

I am planing a little road trip this suumer. I hope I end up somewhere better than this steel internet kiosk in O’Hare. The seat is as comfortable as a prison toilet.

That being said, I once wrote a piece about groovy books to buy. If you could find a librarian these days, they would have a better system, but for now here’s mine.

” Groovy books generally fall into six categories: 1) History. 2) Books on theory (any genre). 3) The rare “novel of ideas,” i.e. the novels of Ayn Rand*, Camus, Sartre. 4) Writers worth studying for their literary style, not their storytelling, such as Hemingway, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Nelson Algren, Jack Kerouac, Tom McGuane, Vonnegut, Pynchon, etc. 6) Technically plausible and relevant futurism.

Pressed for time? Cull this list back to history, theory and the “novel of ideas.” And if you have only one day? Start and end with history. Here’s why: truth, by and large, is much stranger than fiction. (The last tune Rasputin heard was a scratchy gramophone recording of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Try to put that in a novel.) This makes horror stories more shocking. Love stories more passionate. Tragedies more poignant. History, in short, holds the world’s best stories.”

* Just kidding. She once called O Henry the “very apogee of art” more or less.