Tired of reading the same recommended books from the usual sources? Just think of our bi-weekly What We’re Reading column as your non-committal book club with FADER and some of your favorite bands and artists. For this installment, we asked the New York three-piece and GEN F alumni, Wet. Listen to "Move Me," their song from Kitty Cash's forthcoming Love The Free II mixtape, right here.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Dave Cullen debunks many of the myths surrounding the Columbine massacre including the Trenchcoat Mafia, Cassie Bernall, goths, Marilyn Manson, and others. He explains in amazing detail how these stories were formed by the constant media reporting and, even more interestingly, by people directly involved in the event. He describes certain cover ups that contributed to some of the confusion about what was real and what wasn’t, but I thought the more interesting part was how people, either close to the tragedy or just following it on TV, seemingly unintentionally constructed stories around the event as part of their understanding and grieving process. When you’re reading this you can totally understand that impulse to organize all of the chaos to try to simplify something really complicated because if you don’t it feels like you won’t be able to stop it from happening again. But as you get closer and closer to the two boys, through interviews of friends, journal entries, video confessions, and police reports, you actually feel further and further away from being able to construct any story that makes sense. When all of the facts were laid out by the end of the book I felt much further away from understanding the boys motives than I did before I started reading it. I think in that way the book is frustrating, but it can teach you to accept the chaos and just be an observer and not try to figure things out, which is probably a good lesson but also can make you feel helpless and depressed. The experience put me in a strange place, by the end I felt like I was disassociating to get through it. I think this effect was intensified by my simultaneous internet use; I couldn’t stop looking up pictures of all the characters and from there I was lead to forums filled with girls who are obsessed with Eric Harris and talk about how hot he is and how sociopaths turn them on and how all the other shooters are just copying him and how they would die for him etc… and lots of YouTube videos of news footage and stills from surveillance cameras inside the school. All of that is pretty disturbing, but also kind of incredible to see. kelly
The Accursed Kings series by Maurice Druon
I'm on the fourth book of a historical fiction series called The Accursed Kings, which follows the political intrigues and dramas of the court of the last Capetian kings in early 14th century France. It's brutally violent, sort of trashy, and completely amazing. It's also exhaustively researched by it's author, Maurice Druon. I read a lot of historical non-fiction (Simon Schama, Robert Caro, etc.), but recently historical fiction has become a guilty pleasure that I don't really feel all that guilty about. Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall series (which details the life of everyone's least-favorite 16th century English statesman, Thomas Cromwell) is also a favorite, as is the I, Claudius series (about the first century Roman emperor, and based largely on Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars—another incredible read!). marty
The Houseplant Expert by D.G. Hessayon (978-0903505352)
I was very pleased with the amount of information this book provided. joe