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 Bon Vincent Fry of Lamentations of the Ashen.
Sometimes when I feel like taking a small break from writing or practicing music, I really enjoy investing my spare moments with a nice piece of literature. I’ve always found it to be a therapeutic head-change, and I revere books as one of life’s greatest assets, along with a killer record collection. In fact, other than the music I have grown up listening to and currently listen to, literature is the next biggest influence on the music I make.
My reading interests mostly revolve around the metaphysical, psychological and philosophical. My humble little library has a nice amount of esoteric and occult volumes that I’ve collected over the years. I see some of these books as bizarre experiments, and some have no doubt propelled my mind into dark territories. It seems that some information can be threatening and destructive. The occasional need for “lighter” material has fostered an interest in fiction most recently, so I suppose that is where I’ll begin…
“The Darkness That Comes Before” by R. Scott Bakker
This book is the first installment in “The Prince Of Nothing” series. I’ve just recently started dabbling in the final book, “The Thousandfold Thought,” but this is where you need to begin.
Presented in a style that echoes seminal figures of past works of epic fantasy, the author has created an incredibly detailed, faceted, post-apocalyptic world which has become host to a “Holy War” mired in politics, deceit and conspiracy among emperors and warring schools of sorcery.
A seemingly frivolous love affair between an aging but powerful sorcerer and a whore frames the story as the “Holy War” prepares to embark on a crusade to cleanse distant, Heathen lands. I won’t go too far into it because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but this story is not for the faint of heart. This stuff is dark, brutal, and totally perverse but I absolutely recommend this to anyone taking an interest in epic fantasy.
“John Barleycorn: ‘Alcoholic Memoirs’” by Jack London
This one isn’t super esoteric or anything but I wanted to share it in this column because it was something I could relate to on many levels and it really had a huge impact on me when I read it.
This book is Jack London’s personal narrative of his drinking career which began with a maddening and nearly deadly episode of drunkenness when London was just a small boy. He also recalls how he would steal small sips of beer from a pail that he used to fetch for his father as a boy, to how he would literally wake up at dawn everyday and have to get completely smashed before he would even be able to start his daily writing.
The extent of London’s drinking documented in these harrowing accounts is fucking monumental and I was fascinated at his account of the degenerative, incremental and even suicidal destruction that can be wrought through the “fondness of drink.”
“Witness To The Fire: Creativity & The Veil Of Addiction” by Linda Schierse Leonard
A few years ago, I was looking around for a book for my younger brother who had been struggling with a drug addiction (he has since recovered and I’m proud of him). I had this idea of finding something that covers the use of creativity as a way to overcome addiction. This book basically gave me everything I was looking for and presented it in a fashion that provided me with a wealth of knowledge and deep insight into the nature of individuality, psychology, and certain common struggles that we can have as artists and addicts.
In the fashion of Jung, the author presents a series of “archetypes” (The Hostage, The Moneylender, The Gambler, The Romantic, etc.) that exist within us all as humans. She outlines in depth how these inborn structures of psychology have the power to catalyze our descent into the hell of addiction when harnessed negatively by providing insight into their nature and rationale. I’ve really only scratched the surface on this one. I urge anyone reading this to find it and read immediately. This book literally changed my life.
From the text:
“Consequently, the individual history of every creative man is always close to the abyss of sickness; he does not, like other men, tend to heal the personal wounds involved in all development by an increased adaptation to the collectivity.”
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