The best novels to read if your rock ‘n’ roll party days are over

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a perfect of exemplar of an author whose party days are decidedly not over, but I’m doubtless at the age/stage where I’m bloody contemplating at least paring down my intakes plural. Not that I’m still at it like a Sophomore or anything but I’m hanging in there. I get a great, tingly buzz (you had to have seen this coming!) recommending great books to keen readers. I live in a library—essentially—and friends who visit for a beer or a spliff most often leave with a book I’ve given them. Now you lot are gonna ask me to lend you some scratch! Now you’ve gone and done it, John! Haha.


I wrote...

The King Of Good Intentions Part Three

By John Andrew Fredrick,

Book cover of The King Of Good Intentions Part Three

What is my book about?

As The Weird Sisters return from their first What-Could-Go-Wrong (spoiler alert – everything) National Tour, bandmates/lovers John and Jenny face their iffy futures together (or apart) as the brilliant and mysterious Katie upends the romantic/artistic balance that’s been precarious-at-best. The unmitigated vanity, the mythopoeic beauty, the megalomania and heartbreak, the exquisite talent and ludicrous hubris – it’s all here in Fredrick’s wonderful, tart-sweet, final installment.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Under The Volcano

John Andrew Fredrick Why did I love this book?

Lowry is the best stylist in the history of the English Language bar two other classic writers—Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson. 

The amount of alcohol consumed in this brutally beautiful novel is staggering to say the least. Its zesty darkness and, er, volcanic poetry is a stone-cold trip. If you don’t remember (or never tasted) mescal or that time you had too many margaritas, Lowry’s masterpiece will do you well. 

By Malcolm Lowry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under The Volcano as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Sun Also Rises

John Andrew Fredrick Why did I love this book?

If you’re over thirty you should have outgrown your infatuation with Papa by now, methinks; but still it’s nice to revisit this lark of a roman a clef.

You’ll either shudder or joy (or both) at the scenes where the roisterers on the bus are shooting wine into each others’ mouths via boda bag. Did I spell boda bag properly? It’s been a long time, mate.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Sun Also Rises as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jake Barnes is a man whose war wound has made him unable to have sex—and the promiscuous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley. Jake is an expatriate American journalist living in Paris, while Brett is a twice-divorced Englishwoman with bobbed hair and numerous love affairs, and embodies the new sexual freedom of the 1920s. The novel is a roman à clef: the characters are based on real people in Hemingway's circle, and the action is based on real events, particularly Hemingway's life in Paris in the 1920s and a trip to Spain in 1925 for the Pamplona festival and fishing in the…


Book cover of Against Nature (A Rebours)

John Andrew Fredrick Why did I love this book?

I like to recommend difficult books—everyone needs a challenge once in a while and the nihilist Huysmans kind of throws down a literary gauntlet here in that he’s sort of daring you to go with him to the abysses of the modern soul. 

This book is indeed way more psychedelic than any 60’s Beat guy or girl ever penned or dreamed.

By Joris Karl Huysmans, John Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Against Nature (A Rebours) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Against Nature (A Rebours)By Joris-Karl Huysmans, John Howard (Translated by)


Book cover of All That Man Is

John Andrew Fredrick Why did I love this book?

Szalay sort of exposesin the most subtle of ironic wayshow men delude themselves with respect to their intentions, their character, their attitudes towards work and women, and all the concomitant notions of competition contained therein.

He's got, it seems to me, a quite Hobbesian worldview goingand that, to me, is refreshing! Of course the writing is for the most part beautiful; but not too beautiful, not too embellished. A bit plangent. A bit lapidary.

One thing I would say is, reading him, I am sometimes tempted to cut the last sentence of his chapters. He often ends with a note, as it were, that strikes me as bathetic. I wonder if in some way he doesn't trust the reader. 

Cutting the last sentence:  that's an old New Yorker magazine trick and I thinkeven though this may sound presumptuoushis prose'd benefit from it.

By David Szalay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All That Man Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

WINNER OF THE EDGE HILL READER'S CHOICE AWARD

Nine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving - in the suburbs of Prague, beside a Belgian motorway, in a cheap Cypriot hotel - to understand just what it means to be alive, here and now.

Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are - ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking…


Book cover of High Fidelity

John Andrew Fredrick Why did I love this book?

This isn’t a particularly party-hearty (hardly?) novel, seeing as the music nerds satirized (and glorified) are mostly just f’ed up on wax, not honey oil or absinthe or something.  It will indeed make you laugh and give others a contact high of hilarity if they’re in the same room with you.

By Nick Hornby,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked High Fidelity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I've always loved Nick Hornby, and the way he writes characters and the way he thinks. It's funny and heartbreaking all at the same time."—Zoë Kravitz

From the bestselling author of Funny Girl, About a Boy, A Long Way Down and Dickens and Prince, a wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll.

Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a…


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Kanazawa

By David Joiner,

Book cover of Kanazawa

David Joiner Author Of Kanazawa

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

My book recommendations reflect an abiding passion for Japanese literature, which has unquestionably influenced my own writing. My latest literary interest involves Japanese poetry—I’ve recently started a project that combines haiku and prose narration to describe my experiences as a part-time resident in a 1300-year-old Japanese hot spring town that Bashō helped make famous in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. But as a writer, my main focus remains novels. In late 2023 the second in a planned series of novels set in Ishikawa prefecture will be published. I currently live in Kanazawa, but have also been lucky to call Sapporo, Akita, Tokyo, and Fukui home at different times.

David's book list on Japanese settings not named Tokyo or Kyoto

What is my book about?

Emmitt’s plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of purchasing their dream home. Disappointed, he’s surprised to discover her subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo.

In his search for a meaningful life in Japan, and after quitting his job, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa’s most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English. He becomes drawn into the mysterious death of a friend of Mirai’s parents, leading him and his father-in-law to climb the mountain where the man died. There, he learns the somber truth and discovers what the future holds for him and his wife.

Packed with subtle literary allusion and closely observed nuance, Kanazawa reflects the mood of Japanese fiction in a fresh, modern incarnation.

Kanazawa

By David Joiner,

What is this book about?

In Kanazawa, the first literary novel in English to be set in this storied Japanese city, Emmitt's future plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of negotiations to purchase their dream home. Disappointed, he's surprised to discover Mirai's subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo, a city he dislikes.

Harmony is further disrupted when Emmitt's search for a more meaningful life in Japan leads him to quit an unsatisfying job at a local university. In the fallout, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa's most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English.

While continually resisting Mirai's…


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