Henry Miller’s Black Spring – Always Merry and Bright!

Initially published in 1936, Black Spring was banned in the U.S. for almost 30 years as obscene, suffering the same fate as Tropic of Cancer, which was published two years earlier, and Tropic of Capricorn, which was published two years later. It was only as a result of Grove Press’s sheer doggedness in the early 1960s  in appealing the obscenity rulings that the U.S. Supreme Court finally overturned them, and declared Miller’s works to be literature in 1964.

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The Grifters by Jim Thompson – Robbers and Robbers

Jim Thompson is regarded in literary circles as a master of noir fiction. His books are published by Random House and many of them are available in hardback editions. It didn’t used to be that way.

The Grifters was first published in 1963 and I first read it in 1963. I got it off a rack in a dime store. The book was not what we call today a “trade paperback,” which is a larger format than the standard pocket-size pulp paperback, generally a book that is judged to have some literary merit; no, this was a pulp paperback, which at that time probably sold for 75 cents. I believe all of Thompson’s novels initially came out as pulp fiction. Read ’em and throw ’em away.

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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

I read this book the way I watch grizzly slasher films. I squint my eyes so they’re barely open and quickly scan over the gruesome parts, trying not to comprehend too much, but for some godawful reason, I’m unable to just turn the page and move on to the next scene. Bret Easton Ellis will be remembered for this book—one of the strangest “horror comedies” ever to spew from a mind more twisted than Edgar Allan Poe’s, more macabre than H.P. Lovecraft’s, and more harrowing than Stephen King’s. With American Psycho, Ellis raised the bar for thriller writers.

Allow me to reproduce here just a few sentences of a scene that goes on for a number of pages. WARNING: I’m not joking. Continue reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?