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, Memory Tapes’ Dayve Hawk gives us his top picks.
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe: I read this series on my first European tour, and it's stayed a favorite. Gene Wolfe is one of the few genre writers that isn't embarrassing to read: he can write science-fiction that reads like literature. I've always loved fantasy stories that have a wanderer as their central character instead of a hero. I'm not interested in little boys who grow up to be "the chosen one." These books paint a world that feels genuinely strange and distant... there are no cliches or signposts leading toward a movie adaptation. It has the unfamiliarity and heavy doom vibes of my favorite "Weird Tales" stuff, but with genuinely poetic imagery.
Black Hole by Charles Burns: A friend gave me this one summer, and I think it's probably my favorite comic ever. The art has that same mutated pop-art look that a lot of underground comics share, but it carries more weight. It's pretty pretentious to say, but you can feel the black ink. The idea of a sexually transmitted disease that causes cosmetic mutations and affects only teens is about as simple and perfect a parallel for angst as you could want.
Shakey by Jimmy McDonough: I'm not a massive Neil Young fan, but this book was another enjoyable tour read. It's kind of rambling and pretentious, but that feels appropriate for the chronicle of an artist's career. I particularly liked the parts about Neil's attempts at making movies on his ranch. I like the idea of artists having really shitty judgement. There's a lot of honesty in failure. It's also nice to read a book that goes a long way towards painting a lot of sixties icons as the coke-addled megalomaniacs they were: millionaire hippies.