Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some books I've read 3

Lowside of The Road - A Life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns

I guess the trouble with a Tom Waits biography is - do you really want to know the truth? If Waits says he was born in the back of a cab, do you want to read and find out that he wasn't? But it's a well written book. When I've put on some Tom Waits I've mostly been listening to Swordfishtrombones / Rain Dogs / Frank's Wild Years. The book made me re-listen to the older material, the Asylum records. I had forgotten how good they are, especially Small Change and Heartattack And Wine.

A Freewheelin' Time by Suze Rotolo

It's an interesting memoir about Greenwich Village in the sixties and her time with Bob Dylan, even more so since it's written without any bitterness.

Positively Fourth Street by David Hadju.

Another book about Bob Dylan and also about Joan Baez, Mimi Baez Farina and Richard Farina. The writer brings that whole period to life, from Dylan arriving in New York to his motorcycle accident in Woodstock and the death of Farina. It's a great book. I tried to read Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me once, many years ago. Maybe I should give it a second try. And Dylan sure was an asshole towards Joan Baez...

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

I've started re-reading my Chandler books. This one is a bit slow, but well worth reading a second time. It's maybe his most literary novel. He seems less interested in the plot. Currently reading The Little Sister and still enjoying Chandler's use of language and vernacular.

Still waiting on my bedside table: The Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac. I'll get to them eventually, okay?! I promise! Don't rush me! It's over 1000 pages for chrissake...


  1. Hey Jason, have you read Chandler's short story, 'Pearls are a nuisance'? I think you'd really love it. From what I can remember the main character is a retired detective who teams up with one of his suspects. They pretty much spend their time getting blind drunk and punching each other's lights out whilst trying to solve a robbery case. Also, BBC Radio 4 in the UK have produced brand new radio plays of Chandler's books. The Big Slep was last week but I think you can still catch this week's one here:

  2. Hello Ben,
    Pearls Are A Nuisance is one of the short stories in The Simple Art of Murder which I have, so I've read it. Don't remember too much of it, though... which means that it is time to re-read it. Thanks for the link! I'll check it out.