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Sunday, 9 March 2008

The Migraine-Inducing Reading List (Or:What NOT to Read When Hungover...)

1. "The Man In The High Castle"-Phillip K. Dick

A book-within-a-book subplot worked into a quixotic slice of alternative history: what if the Axis Powers had won World War II? Can you handle it?
If not, and if you really really need your dose of quality Dick (snigger!) go and watch 'Blade Runner' or 'Minority Report'. Do not complain that movie adaptations do not do full justice to PKD's literary vision- there's a very good reason why. Film studios are not be held responsible for disintegrating the brains of screenwriters, directors and test-audiences into puddles of steaming goo.

2. "Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings" - Jorge Luis Borges

The stories in this volume have been likened to philosophical Chinese-box puzzles. Borges' genius is indisputable but what happens when you try to solve any puzzle with a migraine and/or hangover? You give up after two minutes. Return to Borges when you are back under the influence, even at the risk of forgetting any insights when you sober up or come down.

                                                      3. "Ulysses"-James Joyce

*Such* a weighty tome! Here's a heavy book
in all senses of the word. I recommend the annotated edition- only because I get a sadistic thrill from thinking of all you poor migraine/ hangover sufferers trying to read obscure footnotes and keeping up with definitions. Save yourself the trouble and bash yourself over the head with this one. It won't cure your headache but you'll forget all about it if you take aim and apply enough force.

4. "Only Revolutions" by Mark Z. Danielewski

It's hard enough trying to read in a straight line when you are chugging down Panadols and Alka-Seltzer. All the text in this novel goes up and down, in two-toned curlicues and in mirror-image. The book title is apt enough- you'll be seeing spirals when you try to read this. If this book makes sense to you or the spirals are big green pythons that are talking to you about the postmodern tropes in this book, then your problem is bigger than a hangover or a migraine.


Amarinda Jones said...

Okay, next time I have a hangover I'm definitely read Ulysses.

De.vile said...

I read it without notes and believe me, I wouldn't throw it on anybody cuz I think they might end up reading it, too. Not very good, that.

Btw, thanks for dropping by :)

gary gibson said...

If you haven't read Danielewski's House of Leaves, I highly, highly recommend it; I'll have to admit I was scared off from Revolutions because of its complexity.

gary gibson said...

Also, I'd recommend Scanner Darkly over High Castle, where Dick is concerned. And the movie adaptation is actually surprisingly good.

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