Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


Hudgins wrote that he had a problem with the depravity of William Burrough's Naked Lunch when he was a kid. 

I liked it but understand what he was talking about. 

I had an older sister who was shooting dexedrine at a flop house in the Bronx when I was a kid. 

I can remember coming in from Long Island with my family and searching for her in the tenements, finally finding her, completely riddled with sores and needle marks. 

This was around 1969. It was pretty horrific. Luckily she eventually put her life together. 

But you never forget...

Back to books. I was an incredibly voracious reader when I was young, 10 to 15 years of age. 

I devoured everything in my path, from Robert Howard to Heller to Camus. And I read everything Hesse wrote. 

Loved him, especially Magister Ludi and Narcissus and Goldmund but Damien, Siddhartha,  Journey to the East, Steppenwolf, all the rest, the works.

I made a serious mistake and re- read that wonderful book, Narcissus and Goldmund, this incredible tale of friendship, as an adult. And guess what, it sucked, couldn't make any sense of it. And I think that is a problem, you may be able to grok something with your fourteen year old mind that is completely pointless when you are an adult? And vice versa I suppose. I can't understand him now, honestly.

I just spent a month trying to read Sirens of Titan again. Vonnegut's book enchanted many, was supposed to be a movie. Well, it took forever to read, kept losing interest and putting it down, always a bad sign. And you know what, it was still awful and incomprehensible to me, although I do enjoy some of his work. Hate to say it but Asimov's Foundation didn't wear all that well on me either and I always disliked Dune.

Here are some of my favorite books, mostly sci fi, for what it is worth. They all still ring true to me.

Tiger, Tiger (the stars my destination.)
- Alfred Bester  If you are going to read one book on my list, make it this one. Absolute brilliance. A book so nice, they named it twice...

More than Human - Theodore Sturgeon

Nine Princes of Amber - Roger Zelazny

Lord of Light - Zelazny

Creatures of Light and Darkness - Zelazny

Mana from Heaven - Zelazny

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger (The laughing man)

A Confederate General in Big Sur - Richard Brautigan

The Children's Hour - Henry Kuttner

Lord of the Rings - Tolkien

I have no mouth and I must scream - Harlan Ellison

Deathbird Stories - Harlan Ellison (Dogfight on 101)

Ubik - Philip Dick

Neuromancer - William Gibson

Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

Stranger in a strange land - Robert Heinlein

R is for Rocket - Ray Bradbury (Pillars of fire)

Shadow of the wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Fencing Master - Arturo Perez Reverte

Anything by Lord Dunsany and William Morris


Detective books

Nero Wolfe - Rex Stout

Inspector Bonaparte - Arthur Upfield 

Inspector Otani - James Melville

Maigret -  George Simenon


Scrota said...

Had a great time with Slaughterhouse Five but can't really remember Titans.
Never really had an urge to read much Sci Fi but tried to read the sequel to
Space Odyssey and gave up after less than a chapter, it being so poorly written.
As an aside the book starts at the VLA near Magdalena which ironically was constructed
by Chamisa's husband Jack, RIP, one of the great up and coming architects in the 1950s.

But went gaga over Burroughs Martian Venus series and read everything. Never had an interest in Joyce but have 4 Fitzgerald ist editions and one signed. And of course inhaled all of Hem.

Bios I love and two of the best...'Oscar Levant', and Anthony Quinn's own 'Original Sin'.

And I told you of the extraordinary sleeper of a book that you probably forgot but it's called "The Passenger', by Ulrich Boschwitz.

Henny Youngman (Read My Book...Please!)

island guy said...

Tiger Tiger deserves more renown.

Wicki said...

Thanks for the very good list!

Blue Heron said...

Checking for overlaps in our reading lists........................................................still checking........................ Ah ! Tolkein - i have read in entirety 28 times at last count. Mmm, no Donald Duck/Scrooge comics, Sad.


Liz said...

You forgot Chip Delaney. Hard to beat Dhalgren or Babel 17