This week’s book chat topic is “what is the strangest book you’ve ever read?”
Without a doubt, the strangest book I have ever read is Naked Lunch by William Burroughs.
For a couple of years, I was on this huge kick of reading works by the Beat Generation authors. It all started when I read Howl as an undergrad, then tore into works by Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. They added the fuel to my post-adolescent/early adult existential crisis.
I was just about done with this stage when I decided to read Naked Lunch. It had much acclaim and my interest was peaked.
This book made no kind of sense. It is non-linear and extremely disturbing. There is graphic violence, drug use and pedophilia.
I keep a pretty open mind about what I read. I do not shy away from gruesome material, I figure there is always something to be learned. Although I generally like some sort of structure to what I read, I can appreciate the stream of consciousness and untraditional flow.
However, this book is just a drug-induced prattle. It was as frustrating as listening to a meth addict, schizophrenic or anyone else not in a logical frame of mind, ramble on and on about their paranoid delusions.
I barely made it through the whole book, and when I did, I announced to no one in particular, that I was done reading books written by people who were high and I was finally over the Beat Generation.
“Never have I felt so violated after reading a book—and I pride myself on being open-minded. Creepy, prostitute sex? Sure. Shooting heroin into your eyeballs and killing people who turn into insects? Why not. As long as there’s some tangible point to what you’re trying to say, then say it. There’s not a lot that’ll shock me, but even my warped mind started to beg for mercy after just a few chapters of Burroughs’s aimless, drug-fueled nightmares.”
What is the strangest book you have ever read?