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Pip, SF

The world's worst drinker and part-time raconteur. Pip spends all his spare time dreaming of bikes and being a messenger; which he never will 'cause he's a big wuss


The House of Leaves
by Mark Z. Danielewski.
Its nominally about a house that's larger on the inside than on the outside, but really its about the fears that lurk inside our, mind especially when confronted with a total void when our senses are no longer engaged. I can see people hating this book but its by far one of the most interestingly framed stories I've read in a long time. As the characters so fall apart so does the typography, the narrative. Events unfold via letters, narration, academic analysis of film; Jeff Noon states that there is everything in this book and there really is. It will definitely cause interesting dreams and a few sleepless nights perhaps.

The Ice at the Bottom of the World
by Mark Richard
Great collection of short stories set in the gothic American South.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
by Carson Mcullers
Don't know where this rural southern american kick comes from but here's another. Written by Carson McCullers when she was 23 but showing the weary heart of someone much older. Stories weave around a deaf-mute in a 1930's Georgia mill town who it seems the whole town uses as a confident, projecting their own interpretations on his silence.

The 42nd Parallel
by John Dos Passo
Its actually the first book of Dos Passo's historical trilogy and covers USA in the early twentieth century, and leads up to America's involvement in World War One. Told from the intertwined viewpoint of a several characters the book is blinding. I normally hate historical fiction but this was really good. Sadly the follow on books aren't quite as interesting.

Lighter & possibly Fluffier

The EXES : A Novel
by Pagan Kennedy (Author)
About the trials of an indie band who've pretty much all at some point dated each other. Quick, entertaining page turner.

Anything by Iain Banks (note: writes Sci Fi under the name of Iain M Banks) but his fiction is great and entertaining. The Crow Road (covers the problems of one extended Scottish family) or Complicity (centres on a series of cruel, if poetically just, killings) are two good places to start.

White Teeth
by Zadie Smith
Ambitious and still highly entertaining read, covers race-relations in Great Britain post WWII.

Perfume by Patrick Suskind
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Two wonderful books that have a number of strange parallels; most notably their theories about our Olfactory systems. Perfume is a sick, twisted and hugely entertaining tale of the man with the most developed sense of smell on the planet but no smell of his own. Jitterbug perfume is just genius, it really is.

Non Fiction

Our band could be your life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991
by Michael Azerrad
Covers the rise and fall of a ton of bands from the 80's to early nineties US music scene. As with all these books, you could argue with what is covered and whats left out. Does though cover: Husker Du, Big Black, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Minor Threat etc. Goes well when served with Please Kill Me and England's Dreaming.

The Emperor
by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Grand telling of the history of Prince Rastafari, aka Haile Selassie, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia told mainly by ex-government officials and members of the imperial court. Like all of Kapuscinski's books it will leave you stunned and full of questions. I'll pretty much recommend all his writing as it covers so much of the history and corruption of the world. The following are particularly good: Shadows of the Sun, The Soccer Wars and Imperium.

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