RECOMMENDED READING FOR YOUNG LADIES
[The Amphibian is in a position to know, as he is in the book business. You may find some odd comments by him underneath posts on this blog. He is not slimy, and has a taste for Jameson.]
COME HERE, LITTLE GIRL, WOULD YOU LIKE A BOOK?
There I was, holding out Lowell High as a reservoir of keen young girlish minds - surely one of whom might be interested in a middle-aged pipe-smoking grumpus - when actually they've been rotting their brain cells with twaddle. Vampire twaddle.
How utterly disappointing.
Oh well, at least they're not obsessively watching movies set in New Zealand that feature short huggable young men who might be Irish, and big Maoris dressed as Orcs.
Still. Dark romantic vampire twaddle.
Girls, girls, girls!
Have you considered broadening your horizons?
Real authors, real books?
Permit me to make a few suggestions.
Claudine at School, and other novels featuring that heroine:
Not very shocking by our modern standards, yet deliciously sensual. A teenage French girl who discovers sex and passion, while her father revels in mollusks.
The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absolom², Requiem for a Nun, et autres:
This writer is best known for Southern Fiction. Somewhat unjustly, that - although much of his work is set in Mississippi, he also wrote screenplays for Hollywood films, as well as numerous short stories and also some poems. Many of his most memorable characters display a stubborn brilliance, or a flawed persona. Compelling stuff.
Burger's Daughter, The House Gun, and others:
Political, passionate, at times irritating, Gordimer's people illustrate the spectrum of South African damaged emotions. Keenly drawn characters, often wanting, often noble. Worthwhile material, but you might end up with an affection for whisky most unsuitable in a young woman after reading some of this stuff.
The Apes of God, The Jews - Are They Human?, Tarr:
Painter, critic, author, and all-round unpleasant prick, Lewis managed to offend nearly everybody while writing biting satire. Probably the most important British author of the twentieth century, though his paintings are personally more appealing. A very deft hand with the English language.
There are some really depraved scenes in Tarr.
Lolita, Ada, Speak Memory, Pnin, Pale Fire, and others:
Nabokov was a master of bending the English language while twisting the reader's mind. Sexual escapades play a role in many of his works, either as a motivator or as an inconvenient but appreciated undercurrent. His characters are complex, his episodes compelling, and his descriptions refractive. Everything he wrote was autobiographical, in some works more than others.
Greek Funeral Games, The Persian Boy, The Last of the Wine, The Charioteer, and others:
The world of Alexander comes to life marvelously in much of Mary Renault's writings, but not all of her writing is of the classical world. Fairly universal themes, and characters who have ... 'peccadilloes'. Yes, that's it, peccadilloes - a few of them fairly nasty.
When She Was Good, Portnoy's Complaint, Sabbath's Theater, and others:
Subversive, complex, and neurotic. Especially do I recommend Sabbath's Theater for the young miss audience - it will open your eyes. Or repel you.
Either way, just imagine the book report you would write.
Not a novelist, but a script writer. And what a script writer! Streetcar named Desire, Baby Doll, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Night of the Iguana, and others. You should be able to find the scripts at the library, as well as the movies. In particular, you should read and watch Baby Doll - the Catholic Legion of Decency tried to have it banned, out of a sense of concern with empty-headed teenage virgins everywhere. Or maybe it was the southern degeneracy that done it. Whatever.
It is, I have been told, "offensive to all Christian standards of decency and morality" - high praise indeed.
Memoires of Hadrian, A Coin in Nine Hands, and others:
Marguerite Yourcenar's work reflects a keen knowledge of the ancient world and a sensitive observance of human foibles.
An animal rights activist, bisexual, and intensely literate.
All the authors mentioned should be easily found at a library, or can be purchased on-line. The works listed are appetizing, and will give you hours of pleasure.
And yes, I am interested in your intellectual development - please let me know your thoughts after you've read a bit.
I will be more than happy to suggest more books for you to read, or a suitable brand of whisky for introspective moments.
NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.