In our undying efforts to bring you engaging columns you won’t find anywhere else, we’ve reached out to the metal world seeking submissions for a new subject: Three amazing books you have to pick up and devour.
Seeing as you read this blog everyday, we went out on a limb and assumed you’d maybe want to get some decent book suggestions from some of your favorite bands, too. So today, we continue this series on rad, must-reads with an entry written by Cold Blue Mountain’s Daniel Taylor.
“Typee” by Herman Melville
Most people probably known Herman Melville for “Moby Dick” (which is also a book everyone should read if they get the chance). But while “Moby Dick” is pretty heavy duty, Melville’s first book “Typee” is more of a classic page-turner, showcasing Melville’s sense of humor and incredible storytelling tone. Like “Moby Dick,” “Typee” is set in the whaling industry of the mid-19th century. Loosely based around Melville’s own experiences as a whaler who jumped ship in the South Pacific.
I’ve read this book a couple of times on tour, and have always found it strangely comforting to read about how gnarly the conditions were for whalers, mariners, and explorers of the past; makes taking a shit at a truckstop in Wyoming seem downright opulent in comparison.
“Tales of H.P. Lovecraft” by H.P. Lovecraft
One of my favorite albums when I was a kid was Metallica’s Ride the Lightning. The last song on that record is a sort of trippy instrumental number called “The Call of Ktulu.”
I always wondered what the fuck that name actually meant, eventually figuring out it was based off a short story called “The Call of Ktulu” by a writer named H.P. Lovecraft. Along with Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft pretty much set the tone for the horror fiction genre as we know it today. This book is a collection of Lovecraft’s short stories, most of which were originally published in magazines and are thus tantalizingly brief. But if you like horror fiction, weird shit, or just enjoy well-written, pulp-y tales of madness, ancient wisdom, and other outlandish themes, this collection has you covered.
“Journey to the End of the Night” by Louis Ferdinand Celine
Before there was Pandora, Spotify, and all these other awesome tools to discover bands that are similar to bands you like, a great way to discover new bands was to check out all the other bands thanked in a record’s liner notes. The same method can be applied to authors: I try to take note of authors mentioned in books I enjoy and make a point of checking them out as well.
As a huge Charles Bukowski fan, I’ve discovered several other great authors thanks to his praise of them in his books. Bukowski always seemed to single out Celine for particular praise and after reading “Journey to the End of the Night” I could definitely see why. Like “Typee,” “Journey” is a semi-autobiographical account, based on Celine’s own experiences in World War I and the post-war period.
As you might imagine from Bukowski’s appreciation of the book: it’s filled with the sort of humorously nihilistic scorn for society and unabashed cynicism that makes feeling bad actually feel pretty good.
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