William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist is worth every hour of sleep it will make you lose.
I tried PKD and I loved him.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick came highly recommended from a trusted source. That source is still trusted.
With an intricate but not convoluted plot and strong conflicted characters, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch offers an exploration of philosophy, religion, and the complex realities of human nature. It takes a moment to feel oriented in the world PKD creates, but once you give in to the surroundings, you are in for one hell of an insightful, colorful, and trippy ride.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch will leave you wanting more.
Rating: 4 Hallucinatory Escapes
Mary Stewart masterfully tackles suspense and Gothic romance in Nine Coaches Waiting.
Our heroine, Linda, enters a suspenseful world as governess for the Valmy family. The fullness of Linda’s character – her compassion, wit, and curiosity – takes the reader on a layered journey and leaves you wanting more.
Rating: 4 Coaches Waiting
Allen Ginsberg is gritty, obscene, hallucinatory, and honest in Howl and Other Poems. One of the leaders of the Beat Generation, Ginsberg saw the world around him for what it was: the good, the bad, and the dirty. His ability to capture this unique era of American history is unparalleled.
Howl (the poem itself) is a staple in the archives of American poetry, with an interesting ebb and flow leaving you out of breath, but Ginsberg’s other works shouldn’t go unnoticed; in particular:
A Supermarket in California
Rating: 4 Obscenities
Last year we explored the brilliance that is Emma Woodhouse, this year it’s Catherine Morland. Jane Austen can write a heroine like it’s her vocation (well, okay, it kinda is, but you get the point…), and she didn’t disappoint in her debut novel, Northanger Abbey.
Miss Morland is a fascinating character. Unlike, Emma or Elizabeth Bennett, who are insiders trying to break the mold, she is an outsider looking in on a society she knows little of. She is essentially the anti-Emma in the best way possible, overcoming a different set of personal “flaws.”
Experiencing Catherine Morland’s journey in Northanger Abbey from a naïve day-dreamer, to a woman who remains modest and kind, but holds her own, is a delight. Austen also colors Northanger Abbey with some of her strongest supporting characters who add the satirical wit with which Austen continuously wins us.
Rating: 4 High Society Balls
So far my pops is batting 1000. He is the man who introduced me to Calvino, Marquez, Camus (although he appears to have forgotten this), Aira, Hoban….and now Ismail Kadare.
The Palace of Dreams is a bold and unique take on totalitarianism. Kadare takes a common allegorical theme, and heightens it with fantasy; a government which controls its citizens through the interpretation of their dreams. It’s like Big Brother on steroids.
On top of this creative plot line , Kadare makes an interesting choice with his main character, Mark-Alem. Rather than developing a heroic protagonist (even a reluctant one), Mark-Alem is a purely reactionary character. This was a brave choice on Kadare’s part, one that could could easily be a turn off. But the other worldly feel of The Palace of Dreams, and the confusion and seduction of corruption, allows the reader to connect to Mark-Alem.
The Palace of Dreams is not commonly on reading lists, and it’s a shame this bold gem gets lost in the shuffle. In today’s world it is certainly a relevant and powerful read.
Thanks, again, pops, for opening my eyes to another new author.
Rating: 4 Subconscious Symbols