What We’re Reading: Caveman

November 18, 2011

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. This week Caveman’s Stefan Marolachakis and Jeff Berrall give us their top picks.

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan: Over the course of this essay collection, Sullivan goes to a Christian rock festival alone in a gargantuan camper; heads to Indiana in an attempt to uncover what made Axl Rose Axl Rose; and documents his older brother's protracted recovery from a near-fatal electric shock suffered during a band practice (unendingly frightening, as this is a fear all musicians privately harbor). In sharing these tales, Sullivan somehow manages to strike that rare combination of smart and inviting, surely due to the fact that his command of the written word is so damn strong. Unlike so many other writers, he writes as if he's got nothing to prove, and it just makes you want to keep on reading.

Spy: The Funny Years by Kurt Andersen, Graydon Carter and George Kalogerakis: Former editor of the unstoppable and un-top-able Grand Royal magazine, Bob Mack, put me on to this one. He worked at Spy for quite a while and thought this book would prove to be a good reference for anyone entertaining writerly or magazine-y pursuits. Always exciting to read about people hatching schemes. Also interesting to think about how onetime pranksters so often end up becoming entrenched in the establishment (Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter was one of Spy's founders). I still think it's funny that these guys sent checks for $0.01 to a handful of billionaires to see who was cheap enough to cash it and, lo and behold, Donald Trump did.

The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth: I worship this book. If you have any interest in the history of human consciousness, psychology, mysticism, etc., you will hopefully have heard of The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall and The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky. This is essentially a tidy updating of those ideas for today's times. Everyone makes an appearance, from Zeus and Poseidon to George Washington and Bob Dylan. This book gives up the secret of sharing a specific way of looking at the world. It's also packed with art and diagrams. This one should be required reading for the game of life. Mountain know mountain.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach: It is going to be extremely hard to get to Mars. Eventually it will happen. It is being studied and experiments are happening as we speak. This book tells so many great stories about the experiments that have already happened. From sex in space to certain sanitary issues, it's all here. This book is scientific but it is also hilarious. You will laugh and you will learn. What could be better than that?

UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean:The title pretty much says it all: thoroughly responsible and trustworthy people telling you their UFO stories. This one will definitely keep you up at night. Dark and vibey, indeed.

From The Collection:

What We're Reading
What We’re Reading: Caveman