Skip to content

Immune to paper cuts

I’m roaring through books like you wouldn’t believe, suckin’ down sentences like an arm through a sleeve; don’t miss a word or chapter, don’t to the end skip, jump back Loretta, I gots pages to flip.

Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis

I finished American Pyschoa while back and it was so great it left me hankering for more of Ellis’ slightly bleak, sharp, fascinating voice. Less Than Zero is all about rich teenagers in LA, in the Christmas break between college terms; they’re bitter and bored, already hollow and dry from an overdose of advantage and privilege. There weren’t many people in this book I liked, but it totally worked. It’s gripping, interesting and clever. It nudges themes of purposes, indulgence, and affluent atrophy but never imposes them on you. There’s one or two unsettling scenes, which I found harder to read than American Pyscho, since I didn’t have the option of attributing the horror to an unreliable narrator’s fevered imagination. Having said that, those scenes contribute a lot to the book and the characters, so the book would be worse without them.

Rules of Attraction – Bret Easton Ellis

Since I can’t get enough Ellis at the moment: Rules of Attraction is another fantastic one. This time it’s a group of students at uni, and the dynamics of their sexual relationships is the focus. The narrative voice shifts between the three main characters, and it’s really interesting to see the different perspectives on the same scene or conversation. One of the characters is Sean Bateman, brother to Patrick Bateman, the psycho of American Psycho. That was pretty cool: the events of the two books don’t coincide, but there’s an overlap. I liked that. Since American Psycho came next, I wonder if Ellis was already thinking about Patrick as psychopath when he brought him into this one? The environment is really immersive and the characters, though flawed and frustrating, are real and convincing, and ultimately you (well, I) end up caring about them. Another thing I really, really liked about this book: the way it starts and ends mid-sentence. I love that because it extends the scope of the story, making it feel like a much broader world than what you could otherwise find confined to those pages. Good stuff. Now reading: Glamorama, the next Ellis book after American Pyscho.

The Art of Disappearing: The Buddha’s Path to Lasting Joy – Ajahn Brahm

And now for something completely different. Stepping aside from devolution, overindulgence, and drug and sexual debauchery, here’s a book about Buddhist meditation. And a damn good read it is, too. Clear, easy language, interesting ideas and a good construction: this is great reading. I am pretty ignorant about a lot of Buddhism, especially the meditation practices, so this has been a teaching book. I worried it would be too advanced for me, since there’s a fair bit of assumed prior knowledge, but nothing you can’t figure out after five minutes with the Googles. The simplicity and clarity of the language have struck me, again and again: it’s a really easy and lovely book to read, breaking down some fairly complex ideas and encouragements to practice that could be quite challenging. Having said that, it’s worth taking your time to stop and think about what you read. It’s taught me a lot and given me a lot to chew on, regarding mindfulness, calmness, stillness and peace. Definitely worth reading.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *