Issue #49 / July 2019
I’m a young writer. Your music has inspired me deeply in terms of not being afraid of throwing my feelings into my texts, but sometimes it is not easy to describe them in words. I guess you learned to do that through books and poems. I wish you could recommend to me your favourite texts so I can learn from them too.
ALEJANDRÁ, BOGOTA, COLUMBIA
I’m in search of books to read. Which books and writers would you recommend to a 19-year old girl?
EVA, VORDINGBORG, DENMARK
Do you have a list of books that you think everybody should read, especially somebody in his early twenties?
MARAT, BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
Dear Alejandrá, Eva and Marat,
I read somewhere that between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four our brains are super-receptive, and that it is the period when we form acutely close attachments to things – songs, books, films, paintings etc. – that will be the guiding lights that lead us through the rest of our lives. So, Alejandrá, Eva and Marat, you are all in those bright and shining years where you should absorb as much art as possible. Drink it up, while the thrill is there, whenever and wherever you can, because as the years go on, that flush of wonder may subside, as we direct our attention to our own work.
As with the other lists I have posted here on The Red Hand Files, this is in no way definitive and by no means reflects the ‘best’ books I have read, nor are these necessarily the greatest books by the particular author I have chosen, but here are a dozen books of fiction that I love. Most of them I read when I was a quite young, and each of them introduced me to worlds that were strange and fascinating and new. I hope you like them.
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Adventures of Pinocchio Carlo Collodi
Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy
The Rings of Saturn W. G. Sebald
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
Train Dreams Denis Johnson
Moby Dick Herman Melville
Coming Through Slaughter Michael Ondaatje
Wise Blood Flannery O’Connor
Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
Much love, Nick