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

I had a conversation with Daniel

Mason, the young author of The Piano Tuner and the subject

of books we read when we were young came up. I had recently watched

Milos Forman’s film version of Ken Kesey’s One Flew

Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and was thinking of the other books

that were part of the ‘60s canon: Trout Fishing In America

by Richard Brautigan, Slaughterhouse-Five and Thank You

Mr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine by Kurt Vonnegut,

Siddartha and Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse, books by

Anais Nin and Germaine Greer, Rd Laing and Fritz Perls and Ouspensky.

And of course, On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Howl

by Allen Ginsberg and Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence

Ferlinghetti and Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth,

Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul On Ice. And, to be sure, many

others that I can’t recall. I suppose it is some kind of truism

to say that I was influenced by these books. But I think only in

that I was impressed in some way with their connection to a world

that I was just finding out about. In high school I could never

read Hawthorne or Melville or Austen (a habit I have carried on

into adulthood). In surveying what I have read in past 10 years

or so I have read almost nothing that wasn’t written before

the mid ‘80s (except for Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby,

Graham Greene’s The Comedians and Our Man in Havana

and Gabriel Garcia’s 100 Years of Solitude). Hmm.

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