Five Recommendations will be a recurring feature that ranges from websites to books to the proper cooking methods of crack cocaine...
Click Here for Part I.
1. Catch-22 - It's quite possibly the greatest novel
ever written of the 20th century, going so far as introducing a new term to the English language. Joseph Heller's masterpiece features the protagonist Yossarian and the complications he battles while trying to get out of flying an ever increasing number of missions. Both comical and tragic, Heller creates a vivid depiction of what it's like to be trapped. And being trapped has never been equally captured as it has in Catch-22.
2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers' portrait of the disconnect between people of many different backgrounds truly illuminates the inherent antagonism within all human beings. It's a book about a deaf mute named John Singer who strolls into a small town and takes up residency. As time goes by, certain people from the town become enchanted by him, but only because of the roles they have placed upon him. He never speaks a word but each seems to understand him in their own ways. It's sad, painful, humorous and resonates for some time afterwards.
3. The Satanic Verses - A must-read for anyone with any knowledge of Islam. For everyone else, the fact that Ayatollah Khomeini put a fatwa on Rushdie's head should be enough to entice anyone who cares about the freedom of speech and its relation to the rest of the world. It begins with two famous Indian actors, Gabreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, as they fall from the explosion that once served as their airplane. They land in a comical manner and soon begin to morph both physically and mentally in unexplained ways. Their stories weave between surreal dream imagery, as only someone like Rushdie could dare to imagine.
4. Lolita - Trying to write a filthier tale without using a single "bad word" is a dare only realized after reading Nabokov's masterpiece. It's a story of disgust and desire where one must put their own morality to the test. Maybe the most well-written on the list. Beware, it's essentially a diary of a loveable/unfortunate pedophile, written with an extreme sense of poignancy.
5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Maybe the most misunderstood book of the 20th century. Every decent dope fiend has read it, but few understand the depth and insight that Thompson puts behind his words. Dig deep and find truth. Don't just take drugs and make an ass of yourself. That's not the intention of the book. Dig deeper.