It should be well established that I like books. So, it's saddening that not one of my Facebook friends has tagged me in a post asking to share the 10 books that influenced me in some way. (Similar post are circulating for movies and songs.)
Tagged or not, it's an idea worth sharing, so I will do it here.
I present the list in no particular order, with some minor commentary. It should be noted that I really did enjoy (and would recommend) all these books.
Also: Consider yourselves officially tagged.
1. "The Gunslinger," by Stephen King, 1982
This is the first book I remember choosing to read on my own. I was in middle school and spent lunch breaks reading (cliche, right?). I was taken by the illustrations that separated each new chapter.
2. "Glamorama," by Bret Easton Ellis, 1998
Bret Easton Ellis has a horrifying demented sense of the world. In "Glamorama" he is at his full-on best (or worst depending on your view), with a satirical story about a group of fashion models-turned terrorists.
A movie adaptation has long been rumored, but never made.
3. "Infinite Jest," David Foster Wallace, 1996
Longest. Book. Ever.
David Foster Wallace is both genius and pretentious in his writing. Sometimes in the same sentence.
4. "Dance Dance Dance," by Haruki Murakami, 1994
While I can't prove causation, I had the craziest, most wildly vivid dreams while reading this book.
5. "Brave New World," by Aldous Huxley, 1932
"Brave New World" asks questions about the true nature of happiness that I found personally invigorating to ponder. For a novel that was written more than 80 years ago (can that math be correct?) it is shockingly relevant. One can draw easy parallels between "soma" -- the book's tranquilizer of the masses -- and contemporary television and pop culture.
6. "And the Ass Saw the Angel," by Nick Cave, 1989
This debut novel, from Australian musician Nick Cave, has a Southern Gothic-ness and a density of language that earned it comparisons to William Faulkner. I started this book three times before being pulled in completely.
7. "Evil," by Rennie Sparks, 2000
Rennie Sparks writes darkly macabre lyrics for the alternative country folk band The Handsome Family (which did the theme song for the HBO series "True Detective"). I bought this book (and a T-shirt) from Sparks herself after a show in San Francisco. Sadly, I did not get it signed.
8. "The Tenacity of the Cockroach; Conversations with Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders," by the Onion AV Club, 2002
One of two non-fictions books on this list. This collection of celebrity profiles gives great insight into the artistic mind. It also introduced me to guys like Harlan Ellison (a science fiction writer who should be known by name. Look him up if you must).
9. "Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America," by Kalle Lasn, 1999
The cover of "Culture Jam" is a picture of a dude with a barcode tattooed on his neck, which seems super cool when you're 20-something years old; as does subverting mainstream media culture. In seriousness, the book lays a foundation for what could be an important social movement that includes things like "Buy Nothing Day."
10. "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale," by Herman Melville, 1851
Just kidding. I haven't read "Moby-Dick."