IdleRich

IdleRich
@catalog it was one of those kids ones where the protagonist is somehow taken into another world and has loads of adventures, but a very superior one.
 
Heart of Darkness, Conrad
Fouché, S. Zweig
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
The fall, Camus
the loneliness of the long distance runner, Sillitoe
The Big Sleep, Chandler
The Tartar Steppe, Dino Buzzati
The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann
Brave New World, Huxley
Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
Martin Eden, Jack London
 
The Fall is short, direct, much more enjoyable than his more ambitious ones. That said, I think writing theatre is where he shines: Caligula is impressive with the right lead actor. Nothing in common with the infamous Tinto Brass movie.

"Caligula: (...) It is an extremely clear and simple truth, and although it is a bit silly, it is difficult to discover it and also to cope with it.

Helicon: And what is that truth, Gaius?

Caligula (Looking away, with a neutral tone.): Men die and they are not happy. "
 
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In the words of Camus itself:

"Caligula, until then a relatively kind prince, realizes when Drusilla, his sister and her lover die, that "men die and [...] are not happy." Since then, obsessed with the search for the absolute, poisoned with contempt and horror, he tries to exercise, through murder and the systematic perversion of all values, a freedom that he finally discovers is not good. Rejects friendship and love, simple human solidarity, good and evil. Those around him are pushed away, he pushes them towards logic, he levels everything that is around him by the force of his refusal and by the fury of destruction that drives his passion for life.
But, supposing that the truth is rebelling against fate, his mistake is to deny men. You cannot destroy everything without destroying yourself. So Caligula evicts everyone around him and, true to his logic, does what is necessary to arm those who will ultimately assassinate him. Caligula is the story of a superior suicide. It is the story of the most humane and most tragic of errors. Unfaithful to humans due to excessive self-loyalty, Caligula agrees to die after realizing that he cannot save himself and that no one can be free if it is against others."
 

william_kent

Well-known member
I'd like to know @william_kent 's top ten.

So would I...

it's a pretty difficult task - some books made a big impression when younger, but I have never re-read them and I am unsure whether I would like them now ( Herman Hesse comes to mind ) as tastes change over time, then there is the temptation to only list books that promote a certain image rather than the books I actually enjoy ( leaving out the genre fiction, true crime books, only listing highbrow literature )...once I tried to make a list of 10 it spiralled out of control which makes this list inaccurate as I've left loads out...but here goes..

Chambers English Dictionary
It doesn't get any use nowadays, it fell apart, but pre-internet was always at my side. I would have preferred the OED but the price was prohibitive.

Marseilles Tarot ( Swiss 1JJ Variant )
The ultimate avant-garde cut up novel. Stories are revealed by shuffling the cards, each representing a personality, archetype, state of being, or situation - when laid out their positions within the spread denote the relationships between them.

Burroughs Live: The Collected Interviews of William S. Burroughs
The Job
is easier to find and considerably cheaper, but if you can't get enough of WSB pontificating on the same subjects over and over, again and again, then this is the one to get.

Kenneth Grant - Hecate's Fountain
One of the most accessible volumes of the Typhonian Trilogies. Grant recounts various rituals and ceremonies performed by his Nu-Isis lodge, all of which seem to invariably end in some sort of "tangenital tantrum": the officiating priestesses end up being violated by bat demons, penetrated by multiple tentacles, drowning in slime, and all sorts of other Lovecraftian style sticky endings. I am still trying to work out if Ithell Ccolquhoun is one of the participants - she was involved with the Nu-Isis lodge but unfortunately the recent Genius of the Fern Loved Gully book fails to mention it. The third part of the book deals with Michael Bertiaux which leads me to...

Michael Bertiaux - Voudon Gnostic Workbook
Insane example of creating your own personal magickal universe - subjects covered include: Zothyrian Metapsychology, Nemirion Physics, Transyuggothian Power Secrets, Magnetic Materialsm and Gnostic Genetics, Synchronistic Robotics, The Shintotronic System of Gnostic Magick, Metamathematical Pneumatology, and Esoteric Thermodynamics. I like the way the first chapter deals with mundane lucky Hoodoo ( pick a winning horse, etc ) but suddenly by chapter two there are instructions for turning yourself into a were spider capable of traversing time and space...

Egil's Saga
Icelandic badman descended from a line of shape shifters commits his first murder aged 7 years old, takes no shit, can destroy you with his hands or tongue - he is like the original battle rapper, reducing his opponents to rubble with his superior bars..one of the best Icelandic Sagas..

James Joyce - Ulysses
worth a read

Eric Hansen - Orchid Fever
This is a highly entertaining look at the Orchid world which is populated by some of the weirdest, most obsessive collectors out there, despised by enthusiasts of other plants. If you read between the lines then there is an implied conspiracy involving Kew Gardens and control of the supply of orchids with particular medicinal properties..I've bought this book several times as it gets lent out and never returned...

Theodore Roszak - Flicker
Gnostic thriller following a film enthusiast's discovery of a secret society that has been using cinema as a means of indoctrinating the general public into dualism, using the interplay of light and dark to demonstrate the conflict of the Demiurge with the true bringer of light..I've bought this novel several times as it gets lent out and never returned...

Ed Sanders - The Family
Occult crime thriller where a NY yippie travels to California and discovers a network of snuff film producing occult groups, one of which travels about with a portable crematorium to dispose of their ritual human sacrifices, all connected to a LSD crazed psycho cult leader who leads his Dune Buggy Attack Battalion into Death Valley in search of a hidden entrance to a chthonic paradise. Suffers from an overuse of the hip lingo of the time, but in turn that does give it a period feel. The UK first edition is the one to get as after publication there was a lawsuit where one of the cults objected to the way they were portrayed and the reprints are all missing the juicy stuff.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Surprised to see someone mention Grant and Bertauix! It's widely thought that huge portions of Grant's work are fictional. He was the guy wo brought HP Lovecraft into occultism after all, and always is half-inhabiting that boundary. But his books are intentionally about creating a powerful impression, much more than than they are conveying facts.

Read this the other day on Bertiaux: https://corespirit.com/articles/witchcraft-remembering-michael-bertiaux

Thought it was a great piece, evocative of a time of crazed cultural experimentation with Bertiaux coming across as fairly unpleasant, drunk and seedy. Which is exactly the impression I'd formed of him from reading that book. "Some of that book" I should say. No idea how anyone managed to get through the whole thing.
 

william_kent

Well-known member
Surprised to see someone mention Grant and Bertauix! It's widely thought that huge portions of Grant's work are fictional. He was the guy wo brought HP Lovecraft into occultism after all, and always is half-inhabiting that boundary. But his books are intentionally about creating a powerful impression, much more than than they are conveying facts.

Read this the other day on Bertiaux: https://corespirit.com/articles/witchcraft-remembering-michael-bertiaux

Thought it was a great piece, evocative of a time of crazed cultural experimentation with Bertiaux coming across as fairly unpleasant, drunk and seedy. Which is exactly the impression I'd formed of him from reading that book. "Some of that book" I should say. No idea how anyone managed to get through the whole thing.

I see Kenneth Grant and Michael Bertiaux as extending the Cthulhu Mythos, integrating it with their own personal Magickal Universes, and I agree that their work is best read as horror fiction.. both seem like sleazy guys to me, but Bertiaux is the seedier of the two for sure.. that article is similar to another I've read where the author tried to escape the clutches of a drunken Bertiaux by dashing to his car, but was thwarted by the master magician using his powers to shut off the streets of Chicago, bringing the fleeing victim's vehicle to a halt..

I just dip into the Workbook now and again for a taste of insanity - I can't profess to have read the entire thing! However, it is a favourite example of creating your own personal mythology...
 

version

Well-known member
@catalog it was one of those kids ones where the protagonist is somehow taken into another world and has loads of adventures, but a very superior one.
I'll maybe pick it up for niece or nephew for next xmas
Rich is underselling it a bit. The other world's based on puns and the book's rammed with them: there's an island called Conclusions that you have to jump to, a big insect called The Humbug who's always in a bad mood, a dog called Tock with a watch in his side, a guy who conducts a colour orchestra called Chroma and tons of other stuff. It's great.
 

version

Well-known member
Eric Hansen - Orchid Fever
This is a highly entertaining look at the Orchid world which is populated by some of the weirdest, most obsessive collectors out there, despised by enthusiasts of other plants. If you read between the lines then there is an implied conspiracy involving Kew Gardens and control of the supply of orchids with particular medicinal properties..I've bought this book several times as it gets lent out and never returned...
You see this the other day?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Rich is underselling it a bit. The other world's based on puns and the book's rammed with them: there's an island called Conclusions that you have to jump to, a big insect called The Humbug who's always in a bad mood, a dog called Tock with a watch in his side, a guy who conducts a colour orchestra called Chroma and tons of other stuff. It's great.
Yeah... killing time I remember... the infinite stairway.... eating hunger. Puns and maths too.
 
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