Well this is embarrassing. I began this post in mid-June. Let’s just wrap it up and move on, shall we? These were the books that I read at the end of last year. Woots.
Quick rundown there is that Ralph Steadman is a brilliant satirical cartoonist from the British realm who teamed with Thompson to illustrate many of the gonzo journalist’s pieces during his most (in)famous writing period. Steadman’s art is deliciously idiosyncratic and instantaneously recognizable. For full disclosure, I first fell in love with his artwork not through Thompson but by the fact that Steadman designs all the label art for one of my favorite breweries, Flying Dog.
Somehow, I believe that both Thompson and Steadman would find this alcoholically appropriate.
Anyway, Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in the movie version of this book, did the documentary on Steadman. I watched it, loved it, couldn’t remember why I hated the movie, rented it, remembered why I hated the movie, and then decided to read the book.
I actually found it very difficult to put down the book. I also found it very difficult not to purchase my own copy before I had even finished the copy I borrowed from the library.
Whereas the movie is simply too much of a sensory overload, IMHO, the book was a compelling guidebook to Thompson’s “gonzo” journalistic experiments. His narcissistic desire to not just write about the events transpiring (as a good journalist should do) but to become the main story (as a good narcissist should do) shines in full intoxicated glory with this book. I was equal parts intrigued and horrified as to how his injection into said events would play out…not to mention appalled and slightly in awe of how the man continued to function in any sort of fashion without completely, pardon the slang, losing his shit from all the alcohol and drugs he consumed.
And while I don’t necessarily think that his alteration of reporting to include the reporter ultimately had a positive impact on the field, I must admit that I found his regaling to be almost hypnotic. Needless to say, during my last visit to San Francisco, I picked up a copy of this for my collection from City Lights (best bookstore EVAR). I’ve also added several more of Thompson’s books to my list to find at the library. We’ll see if I ever follow up there.
Final Verdict: I bought the book. Enough said.
I don’t really have all that much to say about Lori Rader-Day’s The Black Hour. I didn’t really find it all that compelling a read. Neither did I find the characters all that compelling. There were intriguing ideas