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September, 2002 - Some Quick Re-Reads
Ian Gray Gets Echopractic With His Bookshelf

My Idea of Fun
Will Self -1993

Often overlooked by mainstream readers, (perhaps because he's British, but more likely because of his disturbing honed-tungsten cinematic prose) , Will Self briefly carved his name in the wet concrete of Martin Amis' 90's fame in America. In fact, he upended whole sections of the sidewalk, and made it look better. In "My Idea of Fun", Self explores the sickening soul of modern life --- marketing and cash --- through the eyes of the central character, Ian Wharton. Ian starts out a normal enough guy, but with help from a mysterious figure most often referred to as "The Fat Controller", Ian and the reader careen around the edges of psychosis, aided by the solid, but pyrotechnic verbage of Mr. Self.

 

Cocaine Nights
J.G. Ballard - 1996

It's likely that with time, J.G. Ballard will move from the realm of respected best-selling author to literary legend. For now though, we still get to enjoy his living genius. Cocaine Nights takes the classic murder mystery and marinates it in a sun-baked surreality set in Spain. Not far into the story, it's hard to decide which is more evil, the as yet un-named villain, or the mindless and well-monied lifestyle he's setting out to destroy. In spite of it's very "eighties" sounding title, this book is a modern classic, not confined by a period in time, other than moderninity.

 

A Parliament Of Whores
P.J. O'Rourke - 1991

Yes, he's a Republican, but sometimes it's hard to tell. Snatching the filthy bedclothes from the fat, sweaty, greedy, grunting body that is the U.S. Government, P.J. O'Rourke does an excellent job of reminding us who the government doesn't serve anymore, and why we wrote that pesky Constitution in the first place. Speaking of The Constitution, some time take another look at it. See if you can tell if the parts about the King of England are in fact about the King, or the Bush family. Mr. O'Rourke also dredges up some campaign gems like when Ted Kennedy tried to sloganeer with "Where Was George" motifs by saying things like "...as the administration secretly plotted to sell arms to Iran, WHERE WAS GEORGE..." or "...when the administration tried repeatedly to slash Social Security, WHERE WAS GEORGE..." To which the Republicans reponded with a T-Shirt that said: "DRY, SOBER, AND HOME WITH HIS WIFE".

Ian Gray
September 2002

 

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