The other day (by that, I mean about 3 months back) I was asked a question. Scene-party, wrecked, bump into someone who has heard I 'write'. They asked a fair if very naive question-what's the best book you've ever read?

That's almost impossible to answer, as he soon realised when I explained I owned a few thousand books and probably read about 250+ books a year. As a minimum. "My goodness" he was heard to exclaim, in slightly stronger vocabulary.

So I figured I'd recommend a few of my personal favourites and pick out some books I particularly rate at Fat Buddha. It's worth noting my taste is not really everyone's cup of tea, so tread carefully.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

This is, over The Shining or anything in that vein, the most frightening book I've ever read. What's particularly nerve racking is the idea of the book itself coming to get you...

Danielewski's first novel (or something like that) is my favourite book. Concerning an LA tattoo parlour  employee, Johnny Truant, who discovers an essay written by a blind man about a movie that doesn't exist. And the movie is about a house that appears to be a fracture in space-time. Or possibly a gate to hell. Or a literary device. Or a labyrinth. Or a representation of the characters souls. Or...a million other things. Intellectually breathtaking, intensely scary, very funny and quite revolutionary. It's also about 800 pages long and will certainly crush you head and your bookcase.

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

Borges is the subject of my dissertation right now, (cross over to the mind numbing area that is my blog to read a bit.) Borges will, utterly, blow your mind. Stories of gun fights, impossible labyrinths, invented worlds, dangerous conspiracies and books that rewrite themselves. Not bedtime reading, most certainly but Borges was too lazy to write anything longer than short stories, so if you fancy a bus journey or lunch break to remember, he's the ticket. I'd also recommend El Aleph, if you're feeling completest.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

A book that will leave you questioning every story you've ever been told. The unreliable narrator grafts a story about a king being ousted from the country of Zembla. What this has to do with the poet John Shade and his incomplete poem Pale Fire, few people could honestly tell you. Who the narrator actually is, I have no idea. And the end notes just build a maze you can't really get out of again. Brilliance.

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

Read this recently for my course and my university degree was just worth it for this alone. The story of a, admittedly deranged, rural Irish boy and his life being mistreated by everyone who comes his way. Doesn't sound happy reading, but this is exceptionally funny, poignant and unique portrait of how the world really does look to a lot of unfortunate folk. 

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner: Written by Himself. With a detail of curious traditionary facts and other evidence by the editor. by James Hogg

A Scottish book finally. Short, succinct and very enjoyable. Also very modern in its outlook-it breaks down the daftness (technical term) of Calvinism and the Scottish viewpoint.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. By Lawrence Sterne

I have a bit of a reputation as a wind up merchant. So this is perfect for me; it's the anti-autobiography. By Chapter 12, Shandy isn't even born yet and he comes to realise that he cannot write as quickly as he ages. Witty and very playful, this set the tone for a lot of modern literature. I would also highly recommend the film adaptation-A Cock and Bull Story with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon-which captures the ideal of the book perfectly and is probably funnier.

 Other books I can recommend of the top of my heid-The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Watchmen by Alan Moore, Maus by Art Spiegelman, Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos, The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley, American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis...I could probably go on all day.

What of the Buddha? Well, I'm particularly liking Art & Sole and the Russian Criminal Tattoos Volume 2 (really), in store just now, soon to be online. 

This caught my eye, I've got a love for art deco style and this covers some great forms. The depth of the book is what got me; it's more of a pictorial exploration of the history of the movement, well worth a read even if art deco isn't your thing.

I also have a thing for kicks. Liked this for its depth, again, because it goes into technical detail on each major shoe with each major company. Really is a complete guide and if there's a sneaker head in your life, get them this for xmas.

Does what it says on the tin, pictures of freight train graff worldwide and no 20 page arty-rubbish about the meaning of it all. Just proper pics and no nonsense.

Look at that, I've eaten up all the page space again. So till next week with less pictures, ciao,



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