Monday, November 23, 2015

What I've Been Reading | November


I think it was Ingrid Nilson who said something along the lines of, 'reading and writing have always been there for me.' I feel the same. I also always feel my best when I have spent a lot of time among both activities. Diving into the world of the subliminal, archetype, myth, symbol, quest, etc.

On one side of the world it's winter, and the perfect time to cosy up with the worlds biggest hot chocolate and a good book. In the southern hemisphere it's summer, and extra long, hot days call for summer reading material (best enjoyed outdoors with some sort of ice-cold beverage in hand). If you are in need of some new reading material these are my top picks of the last books I have read:

1. Jasper Jones, Craig Silvey:

Craig Silvey enhanced the gothic genre by providing the world with this novel. Jasper Jones is the story of a local teenage girl going missing in the quiet country town of Corrigan during the 1960's. Her mystery leaves the townspeople torn apart and pointing blame everywhere. The dark underbelly of a presumably safe town is unearthed and two young boys, quiet and studious Charlie Bucktin and the outcast and Indigenous scape-goat for any accident that occurs within a mile of Corrigan - Jasper Jones, are caught up in the middle with no idea of how to untangle themselves from the complicated web of secrets. I read this book in a day and a half and fell in love with the writing. Silvey explains unconscious childhood concepts with such skill that in my reading this book I felt a strong nostalgic tug toward my own childhood. The imagery is beautiful, and the description of the oscillating Australian identity as it is moved through various eras, conflicts and facets of time is fascinating.

2. The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley:

The book that inspired Jim Morrison and the Doors. 'If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite'. Although my favourite part of this book was the driving scenario, and Huxley's general hypothesis that  the brain uses most of itself and its storytelling to collapse, as opposed to expand reality, the infinite, and what we see.

3. Generation of Swine Vol 1. Hunter S Thompson

This is a collection of columns written, usually about the US political climate at the time but often veering into some very strange territory - such as tarring and feathering a fox, arming oneself with a fork when changing the tavern's TV to the news, and a drunken late night drive to Washington over some seriously treacherous mountains. Thompson wrote the columns for the San Francisco Observer and if you, like me, have a really weird obsession with U.S. Politics and presidential campaigns of the past I highly recommend finding yourself a copy.

4. Hell's Angels Hunter S Thompson

This was probably my favourite of the books I've read recently. Hunter S Thompson lived with and wrote about the Hell's Angels for a year. He extended what was originally intended to be a magazine feature and turned it into a handbook illustrating the psyche of the average American member of the outcast biker gang known as the Hell's Angels, and the media circus surrounding them during the 1960's. Although Thompson was famed for later creating the reporting style known as Gonzo, this, his first book,  remains impartial with accounts of both various Hell's Angel's honesty and the brutality that drew the media to them in the first place.