Now, I invite you to take a look at some of the books that inspire me to write, think, relax, and work.
First, I have a serious case of Deon Meyers worship.
I know what you’re thinking: why would a black author whose first book features an apartheid era South African mercenary as a bad guy be into a white South African author? Because he’s cool, that’s why. And he wrote about Angola in one of his books, so, natch.
Reading “The Magus” shook me to my core. I’m still afraid of what I learned about myself reading that book. I had to read “The Prince” to calm down and feel normal again. For years, especially in the years after college, I couldn’t stop thinking about “The Magus.” Then I read “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” and all of Fowles’ other books, and he became my favorite author. I still put him slightly ahead of Le Carré.
David Foster Wallace
When I was a wee bairn, at the end of college, I started writing my magnum opus, set somewhere in the slightly ahead future. It featured an earth-shakingly important battle of the bands with a band that had a black woman named Chocolate who when angry walked over to the heroine’s keyboard and from the other side of the keyboard played exactly what the heroine had played, while maintaining full glare eye contact, futuristic news clippings, mood dresses, “hued people,” etc. It was awesome. I was about halfway done two years later.
Then I read this new book called “Infinite Jest.”
When I saw “The Wire,” I couldn’t watch TV anymore. Nothing would compare, everything was crap. I tried to get into “Breaking Bad,” but I just couldn’t. I tried “The Sopranos,” but it was too violent (that’s right, a black guy who owns the full five seasons of “The Wire” on DVD just said that “The Sopranos” was too violent for him) and it just didn’t feature any inspiring black characters (that’s right, a black guy who loves “The Wire” just implied that…).
Anyway, I stopped writing my book. Everything I could possibly say was already said in “Infinite Jest.” There was no point to existence. I nearly quit my job. I’m dead serious about this.
I read almost Wallace’s other books. When he killed himself, I went through a really bad phase where I seriously questioned my own existence. That’s how much of an effect his writing had on me.
Although, I do have to say, for the Howling Fantods out there, my favorite DFW thing is something he didn’t write: “Girlfriend Stops Reading David Foster Wallace Breakup Letter at Page 20.” It made me love DFW even more.
John Le Carré
My first teenage crush. I think about “The Secret Pilgrim” a lot, followed by “The Honourable Schoolboy” and “Smiley’s People,” which I read when I was 15 and sick in bed (thanks, Grandmother!). I will not have “The Tailor of Panama” on the list because I couldn’t stand it–I made the mistake of trying to read it too soon after I read Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, which was excellent.
These are the stories, that no matter what, I would happily fall into reading again: the Karla series now together as John Le Carré : Three Complete Novels
I even have the DVD from the British TV series (slow and awesome), featuring Obi Wan Kenobi and Colonel Nicholson himself: TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (RE-PACKAGE)
More coming Soon…
…and because I like Trevor (despite his shiny thing syndrome), here’s his other book: Learn MySQL in Plain English: A Beginner’s Guide to MySQL:
A few months back, what did I finish reading to the kids (and in physical form no less)? You guessed it: Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money! (I don’t ever want them to feel they have to get regular jobs.)
What did we read next, which some daughter who shall remain nameless complained about having to listen to at dinner? The Alchemist:
And, just to have it all be about me, in the end: Cold War Dogs: