Literature

These are just a few books that I've read over the years. Quite a varied selection, I must say, but I try to maintain diverse tastes in literature just as I do in music and film. Realize that censorship comes in all forms...primarily by prejudice and exclusion by the individual. Keep your mind open and let some of these book gestate.
FICTION
High Fidelity Nick Hornsby One of the best books I've read in a LONG time. About a guy in England whose life is going nowhere, whose job is not great and whose woman has left him. Really just a great book. I could identify with it all too well. Plenty of laughs and a great deal of fun to read.
Mysteries of Pittsburgh Michael Chabon A tale of a Gen Xer in the bowels of hell (well, a fairly cool city in the bowels of hell...Pennsylvania.) A quick read and well worth it. Great characters. Almost as good as High Fidelity.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape Peter Hedges A coming of age story about a young man who can't wait to get away from his family and home. Deeply moving. Every teen should read this. The movie's incredible, but the book is far better.
On the Road Jack Kerouac This is the book that defined the beat generation. A search for oneself through travel and in seeing the world. Essential.
the Trial Franz Kafka This seems to be the way America is developing. An incredible book written by one of the best writers of all time. A brilliant look at accusation, guilt, and a bizarre legal system that is not all that different from those of the modern world. Such a great book.
Black Spring Henry Miller The ranting and philosophizing of Miller at some of his hottest. Also good are Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
the Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri A true classic in every sense of the word. Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradisio. Anyone with any interest in fantasy or mythology should be required to read this. Oddly enough, I learned about it from a comic book when I was ten!
Red Dragon Thomas Harris One sweet book. This was the book that introduced Hannibal Lector to the world before he broke into the big time in Silence of the Lambs. The book was made into the film Manhunter. Really great story about a serial killer...read it.
the Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera A terrific novel. Strange in that it is a philosophical novel. Lots of sex... There's got to be at least one in here.
Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut Just a rather quirky book from one of America's greatest authors. Kind of sci-fi, but not so much that you'd really notice.
Catch-22 Joseph Heller One of those books that has affected our culture and language. Catch-22 is a condition in the military that says that no pilot may fly if he is crazy, but no pilot can be crazy because no doctor is allowed to confirm this and no one can claim insanity without being sane. Confused? Read the book... it's one of the greats.
Bloom County
Berke Breathed One of the greatest comic strips of all times. Political. Thought-provoking. Funny. Worth your time and money. Eventually turned into OUTLAND, which was almost as good, at times even better.
the Hitchhiker's Trilogy Douglas Adams
Don't panic. Read them. At least the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Preferably the first three.
Interview with the Vampire Anne Rice Like I need to say anything. It's still better than the film.
the Vampire Lestat Anne Rice Better than Interview... I read it in a day...it's about 600 pages or so.
the Witching Hour Anne Rice Dull at first, but it picks up with the history of the family. The first of the series that has become the Tales of the Mayfair Witches. Very long, but worth the read.
Lasher Anne Rice Shorter and a faster read than the Witching Hour. Very good stuff.
the Demon Hubert Selby, Jr. One of the weightiest books I've ever read. One of America's overlooked writers. A story about the inner demons within the seemingly sedate people you see on the streets everyday...and how they can turn on you. This is not a Stephen King style horror novel, but rather more about the real horror that lies inside all of us. Available from 2.13.61
the Hunt for Red October Tom Clancy The popular novel that established Clancy as the master of the Techno-Thriller. Remember Communism? This book is a great reminder. Fantastic reading.
BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY
the Real Frank Zappa Book Frank Zappa w/Peter Ochigrosso A great autobiography of one of the greatest composers and personalities of all time. Not only is it entertaining, but it is throughly educational as well. After reading this, you will be convinced that Zappa would have made a truly brilliant president. You can read the whole thing straight through or just parts of it... my pick for intelligent coffee table reading.
Private Parts Howard Stern That's right. I'm an obnoxious, sexist, immature, cretinous PIG! Whatever. Stern's book is really a great piece of light, entertaining reading. It's mostly just about a guy being honest... no wonder people have a problem with him.
No One Here Gets Out Alive Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman The Biography of Jim Morrison as written by a kid he affected deeply and a guy who wrote an Elvis biography... to put it bluntly. An extremely interesting and fast paced book about one of the most interesting people in the history of rock music.
One from None Henry Rollins
A book of Rollins unbridled words. Very good stuff. Includes a lengthy interview with Rollins as the second half of the book that is very revealing. Published by 2.13.61
Get in the Van Henry Rollins
One of the heaviest books I've ever read. This book consists of the tour diaries and journals of Henry Rollins during the five years that he was in Black Flag. It shows the grueling tortures of touring and the confusion that comes from thinking and seeing everything moving and trying to find your place in it all. This book always destroys me. Published by 2.13.61
Planet Joe Joe Cole The tour diaries of Joe Cole from his experience as a roadie on the final Black Flag tour and the first Rollins Band tour. Not as good as Get in the Van, but still very interesting. He was also a great story teller and there are a lot of great things in here that don't pertain so much to the story of life on the road. Published by 2.13.61
Rebel without a Crew Robert Rodriguez The document of the making of El Mariachi by the filmmaker himself. The film equivalent of Get in the Van, it shows the struggles of Rodriguez from acting as a medical testing guinea pig to earn money for the production, to shooting the film and editing it on the cheapest of equipment, to selling it to Hollywood and becoming a Player in the film industry. He is also the Director of Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn.
In the Belly of the Beast Jack Henry Abbott Convict J.H. Abbott wrote a series of letters to author Norman Mailer upon finding out that Mailer was writing a book about killer Gary Gilmore. These are the edited and compiled leters. Very deep, strong, provocative situations and words. Incredible.
NON-FICTION
Chaos: Making of a New Science James Gleick A highly interesting book about the progression of the idea that chaos is indivisible from the workings of practical and theoretical science. Not too heavy for a science book. You can handle it.
the Dancing Wu Li Masters Gary Zukav Physics and Philosophy meet in this overview of the New Physics. Written so that anyone, even those who claim to be unable to understand, can understand Physics.
Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts Isaac Asimov A really great book full of trivia and random information about EVERYTHING. I might even add a section with excerpts from the book. Published by Hastings House.
England's Dreaming Jon Savage An intelligent dissertation on the culture and mood of the movement that became known as Punk Rock in England. Very telling and a brilliant document of the times. Brings Savage up to the likes of Greil Marcus as a rock writer.
Rock and the Pop Narcotic Joe Carducci A 412 page position paper on rock vs. pop music by a veteran music industry professional. Insanely opinionated, highly entertaining, and guaranteed to strike a chord (no pun intended) in anyone who listens to music with an intelligent mind. Some great appendices that are worth reading for pure information. This is a necessity for any fan of the SST label as Carducci worked there for years in close connection with Greg Ginn. Published by 2.13.61

If you think that I should add anything else here. or if you can suggest a book for me to read so that I might add it to this list, please drop me a line!

updated 4 july, 1997