Do not read Chuck Palahniuk in one sitting
Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hey All

When I was a kid, I read a lot. I still do to this day. I think it's important that in todays day and age where we're all plugged into the Matrix, that we take the time to pick up an actual book and read it.

Unfortunately, this is normally not the case for me. With the exception of DEATHLY HALLOWS, I think it's been about a year since I've actually picked up a real book and read it for my own enjoyment. What I do instead is listen to audiobooks. Since I have my iPod on me at all times, I find I get through a lot of books just walking and exercising every day. And I have a ton of books on my docket that I hope to get through once Spanish 110 is over. Right now, I'm halfway through BLOOD MERIDIAN (Cormac McCarthy is my new favorite author), and I have on my docket A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, DON QUIXOTE, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, IN COLD BLOOD, the entire DARK TOWER series and THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA. Last week, something reminded me of Chuck Palahniuk, the dude that wrote FIGHT CLUB, which has become sort of a touchstone movie for my generation. No matter how many times Brad Pitt is in the tabloids, I and a generation of guys my age will forever see him as Tyler Durden.

So I decided to see which of his audiobooks I can get a hand on. I found SURVIVOR online and HAUNTED at my library. I burned HAUNTED onto my iPod, and I found SURVIVOR on Mininova. When I got SURVIVOR, instead of it being broken up into a number of tracks, the whole thing was just one big 7 hour and 56 minute long track. And I don't think I could have just stopped whenever and then gone back to it like a normal audiobook bought online or a podcast. So to get rid of it, and to avoid my roomate, I went out, walked around and listened to all of SURVIVOR in one go.

Holy Jeez!!! I completely forgot how incredibly dark and twisted and clinically insane Chuck is. I started listening, thinking that the whole novel would take place on the plane that the main character hijacked. Turns out, the whole hijacking plane thing is just bookends. It's just this very bizarre and pitch black, as in abyss screaming, novel about this guy who grew up in this fundamentalist cult who's turned into this false religious icon and shit. It's just insane. If this novel were to actually be made into a movie, it would make FIGHT CLUB look like a Disney movie. The best part is when during the Superbowl, after this fake marriage/halftime show, he gives away the final score of the game. I call it the best part because it's the only thing I could latch onto. Everything else is just so insanely dark and twisted and fracked beyond recognition. As I was listening to it, it really got me into a depressed funk that thankfully I snapped out of, but it did make me realize something.

First of all, an audiobook this dark and depressing and twisted should never be listened to in one sitting. It messes up your day a bit. Even DEATHLY HALLOWS had moments of levity. And of course, me being the idiot that I am, I actually listened to the first chapter of HAUNTED as I walked to the uni so that I could study for the day. It'll be hard to memorize vocab when I have the image of a 13 year old kid having his intestines being pulled out by a suction pump at the bottom of a pool because he wanted to go pearl diving (you do not want to know what this is, trust me on this).

And secondly, it made me realize that while I maybe at the right age to appreciate this kind of literature (I'll be 22 in 4 weeks), I don't think I'm that kind of person to be into this kind of stuff anymore. I imagine as a teenager and being all angry and pissed off at the world that I'd be into this kind of stuff. But I'm not that person anymore. I like to think that I've achieved some sort of internal peace within me and that I am genuinely happy with the way my life is now, that this kind of "screaming from the abyss" type lilterature doesn't really do it for me anymore. Or maybe I've become the kind of normal, boring member of the masses that authors like Palahniuk rail against in their books. That's not to say I want to become a corporate drone or anything living in one of those godawful suburban homes (I feel like I'm going to break out in hives when I drive by the edges of the city with those new housing developments and box stores). Far from it.

It's just that I don't see the world as a complete quagmire. I'm something of an optimist. So maybe that's why I'm not as into Palahniuk as I should be. I'm still going to finish HAUNTED, and I have his latest book RANT on hold at the library. But I think after that, I'm going to leave the really dark authors behind for a bit.

So who here thinks Palahniuk is completely fucked? And what are some other authors or books that you shouldn't read in one sitting because they'll screw up your day?


Tuesday, August 7, 2007 4:58 AM


i have just finished re-reading Rant - i could read it agian. I find it to be a remarkable piece of work by Palahniuk. I'll admit that this guy doesn't write for everyone - maybe that's what i like about his work.
I highly recommend Rant.

Monday, August 6, 2007 3:12 AM


I haven't read Chuck yet. I'm still a teenager so maybe that will be great for me!
Ok I have three for you-one becuase it will make you think like the rest of your day is an action movie-Matthew Reiley (shit writer, but its like watching a mindless action movie) This applies especially to his better books, like Temple and Ice Station, both of which I have read in one sitting.
The other is the Word And The Void Series by Terry Brooks. It explains all the dark and awful things in the world are caused by demons-sort of like more powerful bad angel critters. Especially the third one Angel Fire East. Messed up shit.
And Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant Chronicles. Fantasy novels where the main character is a Leper and one of the least sympathetic 'hereo's' I have EVER come across!
Anyway thats my two cents.


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