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, US Girls’ Meg Remy writes about some recent highlights.
Two Lives: Gertrude & Alice by Janet Malcolm: I was only recently introduced to Janet Malcolm, but she has quickly become one of my favorite brains. This book (really a long essay/article) discusses the “marriage” of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and focuses heavily on the years during WWII when Stein and Toklas lived in France. I was shocked by the revelations—such as Stein and Toklas’ friendship and support of Bernard Faÿ, a known anti-Semite who was responsible for the death and deportation of many people. Really forces you to realize that you can love and respect a person’s work, but despise the hand that made it. Gertrude Stein was a jerk.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: I had tried many times to read this book, but could never get past the first few pages. For some reason it would not hook me. But when my husband went off and recorded an album roughly based on this story, it cemented the fact that I needed to hunker down and get through this damn book that eveyrone else in the world had read except me. Oh, I am so glad I finally did! A classic that provides “real talk” about topics like sex, love, parent/child relationships and mental illness. Why did I wait so long to read this book?! Nabokov describes everything in such simple, pleasing detail that it makes you feel you ain’t no freak for still remembering some spooky tree you passed on a car ride once or a little girl you saw years ago with a blue-grey ribbon in her hair. I am looking forward to watching the movie version next to see how Kubrick translated it visually.
POPism: The Warhol 60s by Andy Warhol & Pat Hackett: Andy Warhol was the most hilarious asshole to ever call this planet home. This book goes year by year through the ’60s and is full of juicy gossip, cold hard facts and a glimpse of the artist’s emotional side. I couldn’t put this one down, and it definitely made me understand why people were dying for his attention.
Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness by Neil Strauss: Over 200 shorty interviews and musings with and about celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Cruise, Chuck Berry, KORN, Marilyn Manson, Kraftwerk, Cher, Trent Reznor, Jackie Chan, Snoop Dogg…the list goes on and on. Reading it will leave you disgusted AND enlightened. The last entry is about music critic, Paul Nelson, and I feel its worth the $16.99 cover price alone.
Galactic Zoo Dossier by Plastic Crimewave: Oh man. What can I say about this publication other than it’s like candy that’s good for you! Imagine that! Filled with interviews, reviews and snippets about all your favorite psychedelic, prog, garage, you-name-it freaks—and groovy illustrations everywhere done by the skilled hand of Plastic Crimewave himself. Plus comics, comics, comics! Issue #9 has an interview with the Poppy Family in it. So cool. If you wanna be happy and healthy, order an issue from Drag City now!