Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some books I've read 4

Prince Valiant, vol. 3: 1941-42

A bit surprised by how much I enjoy this series, particularly how unironic it is. Beautiful drawings, of course.

Killshot by Elmore Leonard

Satisfyingly unpredictible, but maybe not Leonard's best book.

The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk

A very funny and wellwritten memoir about Greenwich Village and the folk revival in the 60s. I didn't really know that much about his music, but his name always pops up in Bob Dylan books; he was also one of the faces in No Direction Home, the Scorsese film.

Jack Kerouac, Selected Letters: 1940-1956

Very interesting to read. This is only the first half of his letters, but already you can see the rise and fall of his friendship with Neal Cassady, from writing long confessional letters to towards the end of the book going «why don't you write me anymore?» There's helpful biographical text by editor Ann Charters between the letters, putting them in a context.

Jack Kerouac - King of the Beats by Barry Miles

An interesting biography. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of Kerouac, though, the way he and his mother treated his wives as maids and the way he ignored his daughter. Also, of course, the almost incestuous relationship he had with his mother. So, okay, the guy wasn't perfect. Reading biographies about artists you admire, you find out very few of them are.

Buz Sawyer, vol. 1 by Roy Crane

Less fun than the Captain Easy Sundays book, the whole spirit of adventure sort of missing. Only looking at the drawings, I find them more appealing than the ones by Milton Caniff, but Caniff wrote better stories and characters. However, I thought Terry and the Pirates also got less interesting during the war years. It's a bit annoying how the quality of the images gets worse in the second half of the book. Shame on you, Fantagraphics!

Currently reading:

Jack Kerouac, selected letters 1957-1969.

His days on the road mostly over, and an alcoholic by now, he for the most part stayed at home with his mother. Writing letters about going to Japan or Europe, but then not doing anything.

On my bedside table, waiting to be read:

Off the Road by Carolyn Cassady, The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac, Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, Touch by Elmore Leonard, Chronicles by Bob Dylan


  1. Read Winnesburg, Ohio next! Sherwood Anderson tells such sad and beautiful tales, the most being found in this gorgeous little book. One of his, Out Of Nowhere Into Nothing, I borrowed (read: nicked) for the title of my blog. There wasn't a title I thought could say it better so why not, and fuck it anyway, bands do it all the time, nick book titles or a nice turn of phrase found therein to name their albums after.

    Read loads of Kerouac's books, never any biographies though, guess his novels as a whole are his autobiography. the most recent was Dr Sax, his mother and him in this come across as a great comedy double act...a very funny book in all. Do any of the biographies make mention that he sucked Gore Vidal's dick? i have definitely heard this somewhere...and was it him (Vidal) ir Truman Capote said Kerouac was nothing but a typist anyway? Speaking of Gore Vidal dipping in and out of A View From The Diners Club, a collection of his essays. His is a hangdog, acid cynicism rarely beat, and in here there are sparks of prophecy too, being mostly written (these essays) in or around 1989...very highly recommended!

    Never read any Leonard. Read some Carl Hiassan, Lucky Me I think and hated it. Where i go for my crime is Andrew Vachss. He the shit!

    Anyway, love the blog!

  2. Thanks! The Gore Vidal incident is mentioned in Barry Miles' book. Truman Capote is the one with the typist remark. Even though Kerouac's books are autobiographical, I think it's worth it to read a biography of him, just to get an outside view.
    Haven't read any Andrew Vachss, will see if I find any of his books.

  3. "Killshot" ble filmatisert i 2009, med Micky Rourke i rollen som leiemorderen. Vil ikke si at den er det beste thriller-eposet der ute, men sikkert en verdig filmatisering av boken.

  4. Mickey Rourke burde passe bra som The Blackbird, men Elmore Leonard kan vaere vanskelig aa fange paa film.

  5. Off The Road is a good read! Carolyn Cassidy could draw, too1 have you read The First Third? Interesting as an artifact--the "great" Dean Moriarty in his own words...

  6. Oh and i really enjoyed Touch--that's the stigmata one, isn't it?--they made a fairly decent film of that with Patricia AQrquette...