There’s never been a better time to be agoraphobic, introverted, depressive, or just plain slothy. If Hunter S. Thompson's saying is true (“When the going gets weird, the weird to turn pro”), modern pro-status means it’s time to crack open the books you’ve been meaning to get to. Fans and followers of Maria and I know that we’re big time readers. Sorry, I was trying to open this post while sounding as pretentious as possible. In reality, our friends and family know we love books and that’s all of 30 people. I’ll digress now.
Through our friendship we’ve bonded over our love for YA (i.e. HP, anything Judy Blume, The Outsiders), but when it comes to Adult Fiction, we have very different tastes.
For instance, a few years back I bought her a copy of PKD’s Ubik (his magnum opus IMHO - feel free to debate me). Just recently, she showed me a pile of unread, borrowed books she intended to give back to a friend, and my Ubik was in there! The binding wasn’t even broken! She didn’t remember I gave it to her! DUB TEE EFF. [I can’t get too mad because I never remember to write cute notes on the back of the front cover like everyone else does.]
Also in her defense, when we just began to bond over mental health years back, she gave me Brain on Fire which sat untouched for a few days…. weeks.. months… years…. It’s still sitting in the linen closet in a box full of the bedside table items from my old apartment. Yikes.
Long story short, we decided to start a blog series about our reading adventures.
My trump-rage is at a code red these days, so I’d like to suggest some Eat the Rich themed books. Perhaps these anti-nepotism, Fuck-Your-Wealth books will bring you some much needed catharsis. 1. MONEY
The first book I’m going to cover is Martin Amis’ Money. I own this in paperback and audiobook because it’s so good I wanted to experience both mediums. Turns out there are 50 different covers for the book, btw. The one posted above is the copy I have. In 2015 Time magazine added the book to its "100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.”
It’s written as a suicide note to us, the dear readers, as the protagonist aches and pains through a year of his morbidly obese, drug-sex-booze addicted life. Set in the 1980’s this white male has power and status. He has more money than anyone could need in 3 lifetimes, but - alas - zero happiness. He “works” in show business, objectifying women and throwing money at projects until they are depleted of all art. “You never can tell, though, with suicide notes, can you? In the planetary aggregate of all life, there are many more suicide notes than there are suicides. They're like poems in that respect, suicide notes: nearly everyone tries their hand at them some time, with or without the talent. We all write them in our heads. Usually the note is the thing. You complete it, and then resume your time travel. It is the note and not the life that is cancelled out. Or the other way round. Or death. You never can tell, though, can you, with suicide notes.” ― Martin Amis, Money
So why the hell would I enjoy reading a suicide note penned by a narcissistic douche bag who treats women like meat and his body like a dumpster fire? Because I like reading about sad shit! Also, the protagonist gets his sad life handed right back to him as quickly as he tries to toss it away. It’s a study on instant karma.
So if you want to read about the year in the life of a rich, miserable old fart’s tumultuously never ending hangover, have at it. The writing is wonderful and the story is sure to satisfy most of your trump-hating needs.
Spiraling off of Money, Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See by Juliann Garey is about an executive producer in Hollywood who battles all of the trials and tribulations of said community AND bipolar disorder. “Despite all the drugs, I do not sleep. Instead, I ruminate. Which is both what cows do to their cud and the bad habit practiced by depressives of turning things over and over in their minds. Ceaselessly, relentlessly. Until the thoughts themselves are enough to drive them over the edge.”
― Juliann Garey
Let me warn you, this book will tear you up and leave you with a sad book hangover. I’m not going to spoil anything, so I can’t go into details. Just realize that the main character only thinks of himself (sure, the bipolar disorder drives a lot of his actions, but he’s also just a dick) and this impacts his family in ways that made me want to tear out pages of the book.
3. High Life
Matthew Stokoe has been one of my top, still living authors since I first read this book in my freshman year of college. A genius peer in my program told me it was the most graphic book he’d read in a while, and I bought myself the copy on kindle ten minutes later. I read it in one sitting. I was one of those. Loved it. Love when that happens.
How should I properly intro Stokoe? Let’s see... If Brett Easton Elis and Don Winslow hung out as kids, Matthew Stokoe would be their older acquaintance, smoking cigs and showing them the dead body he found by the train tracks. He’s the Jeffery Dahmer of Hollywood Noire. “A hot rain blew in from the sea. It hit Ocean Avenue in sticky washes of reflected neon that took the coloured light from the hotels & stores & ran it into the gutters with the trash. In Palisades Park a fat tramp stood staring down at something by his feet. The way he held his head made him look like a hanged man. He swayed slightly & I imagined a rope stretching from his neck to the sky.”
― Matthew Stokoe, High Life
High Life follows a protagonist who moved to LA, desperate to find fame and fortune. He stumbles his way into a gig as a Hollywood gossip review host - think Ryan Cecrest, but only if Ryan does hard drugs and murders hobos.
This book has it all: A-list sex parties, Hell’s Angels gang rapes, crooked cops, incest, homicide, violent murder, and much more. I want to read it again. I just need to find the charger cord for my kindle. And then I’m going to re-read Empty Mile.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a goodreads account, you cannot call yourself an avid reader. I update mine after I finish any book. For the past two years, I’ve slowly updated my progress of Infinite Jest (65% as of the writing of this blog).
So those are my #EatTheRich reading suggestions. Let me know which books you'd add to the list.