Tired of reading the same recommended books from the usual sources? Just think of our weekly What We’re Reading column as your non-committal book club with The FADER and some of your favorite bands. For this installment, Milo Cordell, from The Big Pink (whose album Future This is out January 16th), gives us his top picks.
20,000 Streets Under The Sky: A London Trilogy by Patrick Hamilton: Set in a foggy London late 1920s and early 1930s, this book revolves around three characters working in The Dolphin, a pub in Holborn, London. It’s a hopeless love story featuring a very post Dickensian cast of prostitutes, drunks and losers looking for love. Romantically, everyone is doomed from the start—you know there is no happy ending—but the narrative grips you throughout due to Hamilton’s historical description of London’s seedier underbelly. For another taste of this era London written by the same author, check Hangover Square.
The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: My girlfriend gave this book to me when we first met. It is probably the saddest book I have ever read. The author loses her husband and her daughter within a few months, and the book is about the year she spent dealing with it (or not dealing with it), what she remembers and what she wants to remember. “Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” She says of husband suffering a massive heart attack just before dinner, just a few days after Christmas 2003. It’s a very personal insight into marriage, love and death, written elegantly—but sometimes brutally elegant—by a remarkable woman.
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis: My uncle gave this to me for Christmas most probably because I’m in a band and so is Anthony Kiedis. I kind of sighed and smirked in my head and thought, they don’t know me , I’m into Zomby and Elite Gymnastics really, but then I found myself going on a long train journey with nothing to read, so I brought it with me, and I didn’t put it down once. I don’t know why, it was just really readable. I mean, the guy is a bit of a douche and it is literally mostly about girls and shooting up cocaine, but when it’s interesting, it’s exciting. Late ’80s early ’90s LA seems amazing, playing shows with Jane’s Addiction… It legit seems like an amazing time in musical history. And the bit about recording Blood Sugar Sex Magick is truly inspiring.