The June Poll is up here
. You have a week to vote, so that means I will be closing the poll next Sat (4/24). ::::::::::::::: JUNE BOOKS ::::::::::::::::::
1.?The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To, by?DC Pierson?: 240 pages
Fifteen-year-old Darren Bennett lives in an entirely recognizable teenage world: he's obsessed with science fiction and video games, bullied by his older brother, and completely baffled by the opposite sex. On the other hand, Darren's new, socially awkward best friend, Eric Lederer, lives a life unrecognizable to everyone: Eric can't sleep, at all, ever, a revelation he shares with Darren in strictest confidence. After overcoming his shock, Darren delights in exploring Eric's anomalous condition through a series of trials involving, among other things, roofies. When a typical high school fight over a girl leads Darren to tell a stranger about Eric's bizarre secret, Darren is caught up in the kind of fight-for-your-life adventure he so often daydreams about. Combining a coming-of-age tale with science fiction, Pierson performs a nimble, satisfying balancing act, with enough drama of the day-to-day high school variety to keep the more fantastic elements in check. The result is a fast-moving narrative with an authentic, heartfelt voice, plenty of laughs and spot-on cultural references, and a raucous climax.?2. Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs : 320 pages
"He was," as Salon's Gary Kamyia notes, "20th-century drug culture's Poe, its Artaud, its Baudelaire. He was the prophet of the literature of pure experience, a phenomenologist of dread.... Burroughs had the scary genius to turn the junk wasteland into a parallel universe, one as thoroughly and obsessively rendered as Blake's."
Why has this homosexual ex-junkie, whose claim to fame rests entirely on one book--the hallucinogenic ravings of a heroin addict--so seized the collective imagination? Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in a Tangier, Morocco, hotel room between 1954 and 1957. Allen Ginsberg and his beatnik cronies burst onto the scene, rescued the manuscript from the food-encrusted floor, and introduced some order to the pages. It was published in Paris in 1959 by the notorious Olympia Press and in the U.S. in 1962; the landmark obscenity trial that ensued served to end literary censorship in America.
Burroughs's literary experiment--the much-touted "cut-up" technique--mirrored the workings of a junkie's brain. But it was junk coupled with vision: Burroughs makes teeming amalgam of allegory, sci-fi, and non-linear narration, all wrapped in a blend of humor--slapstick, Swiftian, slang-infested humor. What is Naked Lunch about? People turn into blobs amidst the sort of evil that R. Crumb, in the decades to come, would inimitably flesh out with his dark and creepy cartoon images. Perhaps the most easily grasped part of Naked Lunch is its America-bashing, replete with slang and vitriol. Read it and see for yourself.3. Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer : 352 pages
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told-and the stories we now need to tell.4. The Big Clock, by Kenneth Fearing : 200 pages
George Stroud is a hard-drinking, tough-talking, none-too-scrupulous writer for a New York media conglomerate that bears a striking resemblance to Time, Inc. in the heyday of Henry Luce. One day, before heading home to his wife in the suburbs, Stroud has a drink with Pauline, the beautiful girlfriend of his boss, Earl Janoth. Things happen. The next day Stroud escorts Pauline home, leaving her off at the corner just as Janoth returns from a trip. The day after that, Pauline is found murdered in her apartment.
Janoth knows there was one witness to his entry into Pauline?s apartment on the night of the murder; he knows that man must have been the man Pauline was with before he got back; but he doesn?t know who he was. Janoth badly wants to get his hands on that man, and he picks one of his most trusted employees to track him down: George Stroud, who else?
How does a man escape from himself? No book has ever dramatized that question to more perfect effect than?The Big Clock, a masterpiece of American noir.