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I have always read only exactly what I want which made me a very poor student but is also why I have a decent working knowledge of the French Revolution, the very dramatic and tumultuous backstage stories from "The Wizard of Oz" ("The Munchkins Remember" by Stephen Cox - sadly out of print but well worth a purchase if you see one,) and the US cycling team Tour de France blood doping scandal (how much did Sheryl Crow know?? When will we get the made for tv movie we deserve?!) I like to read about the collapse of empire, music, movies, mystery novels where someone is getting murdered in a fancy English manor, art history, television, poetry, novels where things are normal seeming & then go completely off the rails when a character begins to turn themselves into a steel chair... you know. Everything!
A current sample below:
Easily the most disturbing, amazing, gut wrenching, unbelievably powerful history book I've ever read. Stares unflinchingly at the horror of war and makes a mockery of it's pageantry. Crucial.
The gothic Italian novel of my dreams. Somehow both deeply melancholy and oddly funny, with gorgeous, decaying scenery, lush interiors and Sicilian feasts abound.
I did not expect the story of Sleater-Kinney to make me consider such things as craft, art as commodity, or womanhood but that right there is the power of a well written book.
The Benewski parents have presided over a successful carnival for years, staffing it with their own delightfully deformed children. When their only son, Arturo the Aqua Boy Benewski gains a cult like following and becomes a self-procalimed messiah, the family's facade of control begins to shift with disastrous results. Although on the surface this book is bizarre, even horrifying- just below is a story about happiness, belonging and love. You know, normal stuff.
This book confounds me in the best way. It is about:
- the claustrophobic horrible/wonderful closeness of being constantly with another woman, with any human
- the fruitless quest for purification
- what we feed our bodies and our minds; what it means to eat
- dystopic capitalism
- chain grocery stores, but the kind where all the food is fake and you are watched by a hidden, silent mascot while you shop
- violence of all sorts and what it means to die
- a game show called "That's My Partner!"
- Kandy Kakes.
Just try it. You'll like it.
I think this book is easily 100% better than "Heart of Darkness." I also think that Camara Laye is a better writer than Joseph Conrad, and certainly a better authority on Africa. (But let's not have this be all about how much I dislike "Heart of Darkness.")
"The Radiance of the King" follows Clarence, a white man from England with no real skills except losing money in card games, as he arrives in Africa to "work for the king," hoping his whiteness will provide whatever access he needs. It doesn't. The story follows him, his long suffering guide, and two young dancers as they all make their way through a wilderness of land and mind, circling ever closer to the shining glory of the king.