The coolest books to read while you're isolated
22 March 2020, 19:00 | Updated: 22 March 2020, 19:01
With people urged not to leave the house, what can you read to keep yourself occupied? Radio X has some suggestions for classic hipster novels.
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
Why? It's a total classic. If you're a music fan, this book is for you. If you've ever been through a break up, this book is for you. More than anything, High Fidelity holds the bond between love and music at its core. It's funny, relatable, and a reminder of what complacency can do. And even the movie adaptation is great.
Bright Lights, Big City - Jay McInerney
Why? The original hipster paperback, Bright Lights, Big City chronicles the story of a cocaine addict as he parties his way around the 1980s Yuppie scene. Completely lost, our protagonist desperately attempts to find his feet in a city that doesn't even know he's there. The book allows you to take a look at a world you you've heard about, but never seen. Plus, it's written in the second person, which is awesome.
Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Why? You've probably heard of Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. You might even have a dusty old copy of it lying around your flat. But have you ever actually picked it up? Hunter S. Thompson's shocking account of a life lived on the crest of a wave needs to be read to be believed. It's as much about taking a trunk load of hallucinogenic drugs as it is about America's hangover from the sixties. It's hilarious and about so much more than just drugs (although, yeah, they're a big part of it).
The Dirt - Mötley Crüe & Neil Strauss
Why? Neil Strauss, the guy that brought you the ruthless pick up book The Game, helped the glam metal rockers document their reckless story across the 80s and into the 90s. After compiling accounts from different members of the band, what emerged was a memoir so decadent, so whirlwind, so…well…dirty, it became an instant classic. If you've ever fancied a glimpse at the highs and lows of being in a rock n' roll band, this is for you.
The Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger
Why? It’s the ultimate hipster book. Most people have read The Catcher In The Rye because Mark Chapman (the man who shot John Lennon) was obsessed with it. But the novel is actually a fancinating look at the alienation of adolescence and the “phoniness” of adult life.
The Beach - Alex Garland
Why? “But the movie sucked?!” we hear you yell. Yeah, it kinda did. But Alex Garland’s novel isn’t actually about Leonardo DiCaprio running around in Thailand looking handsome. Firstly, the protagonist is BRITISH. Secondly, Garland’s novel looks at the idea of paradise vs. the reality of it. Plus, it’s funny, smart, gruesome, drug fuelled and will leave you begging for a holiday (although maybe just a poolside one).
The Dice Man - Luke Rhinehart
Why? Ever fancied abandoning all decision making and leaving everything to chance? Then Luke Rhinehart's The Dice Man is going to speak to you. Truth influenced fiction, Rhinehart details the realities of a life dictated by the random. Opportunities you can't even comprehend roll our protagonist's way, but the dangers involved soon start to resonate. With a comedic edge and page-turning prose, even when The Dice Man is at its bleakest it manages to maintain its appeal.
Kill Your Friends - John Niven
Why? Kill Your Friends details the story of an out of control A&R guy working in the hedonistic music industry at the height of Britpop. What makes protagonist Steven Stelfox stand out? Well, he's got a touch of psychosis. But in a world of huge egos, endless drugs and no limits, how can you tell who the dangerous people are? What makes Kill Your Friends so exciting is it's so close to the bone. Niven worked in the music business in the nineties and there are some real life similarities.