Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson

You’ve probably noticed that I like books, but I don’t have as many as you may think. Most I’ve sold or given away. Right now, I only have 80 or so novels, a handful of Leunigs (certain to be the name of his next collection), and a dozen art books.

I left my home town 12 years ago with a backpack of essentials, leaving behind everything else at friends’ houses, including all my books and comics. I wish I could remember which book I took with me on my trip out, that would be amazing to know. I moved to Airlie Beach, a small backpacker town where I stayed about a year before travelling down the coast to Melbourne. I was there a year too. From there I moved to the UK where I lived in London and worked two winters and stayed in Cambridge and travelled Europe two summers. At the end of two years, I again packed my backpack and moved to Germany where, a few months later, I settled in Berlin. Two years later, I moved cities once more, but I returned to Berlin less than a year later. In Berlin I’ve lived in 4 separate flats. The point is, I’ve had to sell, gift, abandon a lot of books over the years.

Luckily I don’t like a lot of what I read (the why of that I’ve probably explained elsewhere, or I will again soon). Moving so often, I tried not to accumulate too many books. I borrow from the library, I inherit books when friends move away, and I fail to resist picking up second hand books at flea markets. It’s only recently that I’ve started to re-buy some of my favourites, what I call my comfort books, books I’ve read and loved and want to lend to friends to read. I usually don’t even read the copies I buy.┬áMy current living arrangement is the most stable I’ve had since I left home, and I’ve realised I may never be reunited with my books back in Australia.

I bought another selection of comfort books the other day. They were:

1. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
2. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson
5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I also bought two books I hadn’t read before. One of them was Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson.

-Reading the Why

“You know, you’re a little complicated after all.”
“Oh, no,” she assured him hastily. “No, I’m not really–I’m just a–I’m just a whole lot of different simple people.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

It had been a long lesson but she had learned it. Either you think–or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

“Either one learns politeness at home,” Dick said, “or the world teaches it to you with a whip and you may get hurt in the process. What do I care whether Topsy “adores” me or not? I’m not bringing her up to be my wife.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

“He tried to collect all that might attract her–it was less than it had been four years ago. Eighteen might look at thirty-four through a rising mist of adolescence; but twenty-two would see thirty-eight with discerning clarity.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night