Friday, November 29, 2013

Punk Literature

It doesn’t take name-dropping Black Flag or writing a scene where a character gets her first mohawk to know that the book you’re reading is influenced in some way or another by the punk scene.
~Jason Diamond, "An Essential Punk Literature Reading List"

Earlier this year, New York's Metropolitan Museum had an exhibit called "Punk: Chaos to Couture" which focused "on the relationship between the punk concept of 'do-it-yourself' and the couture concept of 'made-to-measure'...organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style".  Wikipedia defines the punk ethos as "primarily concerned with concepts such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought and discontent".  Guardian writer Rob Woodard, referring to the New York punk scene of the 1970s, said it featured "an amazingly eclectic collection of styles and personalities...this scene produced some of the most strikingly original rock'n'roll ever made. And it's these wide-open values that make its still expanding literary wing so fascinating."  Its literary wing includes such luminaries as Richard Hell, Patti Smith, and Jim Carroll.

We are interested in punk subculture here at abcreads, and we're happy to point out that you can find items about punk culture, punk rock music, and more, all within the library catalog (don't miss The Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book, which includes activities such as a Velvet Underground Connect the Dots, Draw Tattoos on Henry Rollins, Match the Johnny Rotten Quote with Its Subject,  Punk Libs, Give Ian MacKaye Hair, and Find the Two Matching Social Distortion Logos).  We are drawn to the booklist format to recommend some books from or influenced by the punk scene, but we've tried to represent our slice of punk in the most anarchic possible way, including modern punk-themed fiction, rule-breakers of the 1970s, and "total assault on the culture" [William S. Burroughs]. 

Zazen by Vanessa Veselka

Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary by Lydia Lunch

Neuromancer by William Gibson

The Petting Zoo by Jim Carroll

I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography by Richard Hell

Woolgathering by Patti Smith

Carved in Rock : Short Stories by Musicians edited by Greg Kihn [includes stories by Jim Carroll, Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch and Ann Magnuson]

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader edited by James Grauerholz and Ira Silverberg

Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the F*** You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side by Ed Sanders

The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard


Punk Ideologies

The Literary Legacy of New York Punk

Goodreads Punk Book Lists

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