Tag Archives: The Great American Novel

Quote of the Day

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“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” 

Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

I don’t now why (though I sorta/kinda do), but I woke up (i.e. raised my torso after a sleepless night) and had Hunter S. Thompson on my mind. If you’ve read War and Peace, the above quote might remind you of one of Tolstoy’s most famous passages from his opus (the “Love hinders death” passage).

My first foray into Hunter baby’s world came with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. To this day, it and Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel remain  the two funniest books I’ve ever read. With Thompson, the man had an ability to live in and describe the world he was a part of like nobody else. While some may brush off gonzo journalism as hack writing or immature, drug-addled creativity, I have personally never read anyone like him before or since.

Another quote that came to mind this morning as I ambled around my apartment in the wee morning hours like a decrepit old man with failing bones was from the same book as above:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Finally, on a more positive note (I think), I’ll close off Hunter S. Thompson’s Quote of the Day with a simple line that has more value to it than you might think at first. In its quietly pessimistic yet sobering logic, there’s actually something positive to be taken from it:

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”

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Six Degrees of Maria Semple

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Kevin Bacon, pack up your grits. You ain’t got nuttin’ on Maria Semple. Per an article on slate.com, Dan Kois and Andrew Khan were struck with an idea upon publication of Semple’s latest book: Why not ask the Seattle-based writer what she thinks is the funniest book by a living writer.

The “daisy chain of hilarity” led them to ask those authors named by Semple what their list of funniest books by living authors was – and the results are very cool, including renowned writers like David Sedaris and Junot Díaz.

Personally, the two books which have actually made me cry out loud I laughed so hard were Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (though Thompson is no longer alive) and Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel (and I have no idea how Sabbath’s Theater made the slate.com list!).

As a side note, click here to see some of the funniest book titles known to humankind. Just make sure you’re wearing diapers or reading this in a bathtub, as you may unwittingly urinate on yourself.

If you have a suggestion for funniest book by a living/dead writer, feel free to drop me a note in the Leave a Reply box.

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