“books we read when we were young” –Oct 16, 2002

I had a conversation with DanielMason, the young author of The Piano Tuner and the subjectof books we read when we were young came up. I had recently watchedMilos Forman’s film version of Ken Kesey’s One FlewOver The Cuckoo’s Nest and was thinking of the other booksthat were part of the ‘60s canon: Trout Fishing In Americaby Richard Brautigan, Slaughterhouse-Five and Thank YouMr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine by Kurt Vonnegut,Siddartha and Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse, books byAnais Nin and Germaine Greer, Rd Laing and Fritz Perls and Ouspensky.And of course, On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Howlby Allen Ginsberg and Coney Island of the Mind by LawrenceFerlinghetti and Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth,Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul On Ice. And, to be sure, manyothers that I can’t recall. I suppose it is some kind of truismto say that I was influenced by these books. But I think only inthat I was impressed in some way with their connection to a worldthat I was just finding out about. In high school I could neverread Hawthorne or Melville or Austen (a habit I have carried oninto adulthood). In surveying what I have read in past 10 yearsor so I have read almost nothing that wasn’t written beforethe mid ‘80s (except for Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby,Graham Greene’s The Comedians and Our Man in Havanaand Gabriel Garcia’s 100 Years of Solitude). Hmm.

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