Thursday, November 26, 2009

60's & 70's NOVELS

Sorry I'm really late for this post---I was trying to sell a car. Why do people kick the tires? The old Mercury Sable was hanging around the yard for months, and my wife intimated that old things hanging around should be gotten rid of, quickly. I was certainly hoping that she was referring to the car and not me, so I put my selling skills---which I have none---into high gear. I sold it at a ridiculously low price within the week. But I really liked that car and hated to see it go. Sometimes old things should do just that: hang around. This bit of sage wisdom I imparted to my wife as I passed over the meager sum I obtained for my entrepreneurial skills. She wasn't amused.

Anyway, I think what I was trying to say in my last post where I became digressive and meandering was that these years(60's and 70's) were my real awakening to the power and the delightfulness of the novel. I have to clarify that all these books and authors I will mention didn't write or even publish these books in the years mentioned, but these were the years I had discovered them, or they were required reading at that time for their meaningful message or entertainment.

I'll get right to it or else I'll wander again.

It was important to read Kurt Vonnegut because he seemed to capture the aura of the age. And he was so funny, and so dry, and so right. He was my favourite and still is, actually. I covered Vonnegut in an earlier post, so won't rehash it here. Best books by him are: SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, DEADEYE DICK. By the way, I have his whole collection of novels, and I have a secret wish regarding him. I would LOVE to have a signed copy of one of his books(first edition, of course). I know you can buy them online, but I don't have the money, and I wonder about authenticity---I don't know how to go about it. I would walk backwards to Halifax if I could get such a prize.

Other required novels one had to read way back then: BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley, also HEAVEN AND HELL and THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION by him. The latter being the book for, let's say, hippies with their acid or mescaline fixation. These books were amazing. I still have them packed away in a box somewhere.
1984, and ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell. I remember I was so enthralled with 1984. It still is a very powerful novel. There was a great movie made from this book, in the 80's I think staring William Hurt. I thought they did a decent job of capturing the mood of this great novel---eat your heart out, Margaret Atwood.
ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac. Also THE DARMA BUMS. There not much more I can add about ON THE ROAD that hasn't already been written. This book blew me away. I tried to emulate the characters and the life style, and even carried it around wherever I went---as did so many others. Excellent book.
THE CASTLE, THE TRIAL, by Franz Kafka. This was strange, disturbing literature, but I loved it. What kind of mind did this author have? Fascinating stuff.
Others were Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. And of course, Tom Wolfe's ELECTRIC KOOL-ADE ACID TEST. This book was an absolutely exhilarating trip across America with Kesey and his Merry Pranksters in the old VW bus. It set a new tone to writing and reporting. It was so much fun.
And, of course, Carlos Castaneda. Some books are: THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A YAQUI WAY OF KNOWLEDGE, A SEPARATE REALITY, JOURNEY TO IXTLAN. These taught me that there just may be an alternate reality visited only by those who have mastered the ancient skill of transmigration. Endlessly fascinating and entertaining. Castaneda was never one to proclaim himself publicly---he would never appear on Oprah. And after his books ended he just vanished into the ether, I suppose. Strange occurrences, indeed. I wonder if anyone is reading him now. I have all his books---packed away somewhere.
Norman Mailer AMERICAN DREAM(covered in an earlier post), John Updike RABBIT RUN(Covered in an earlier post), John Irving's THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP. God, I loved this book. It was absolutely excellent! A great novel. The movie version just didn't make it, I thought. Robin Williams was good, and the movie wasn't that bad, but it just didn't capture the "feel" of the novel. Movies are seldom as good as the novels.

Anyway, I'll pick this up later, I have to get snow tires on the new car---I miss my old clunker. It's gone from the yard, so sad.

(note to BR: long gone? broke free? no return?)

A PS: I have hundreds of books that I want to sell: excellent condition, first editions. I have no idea how to do that. Any suggestions?

Next: Hermann Hesse

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