Once you’ve carefully chosen your new stitches, obviously reading my guide on clothes shopping from your iPhone while you strut around York in women’s Ray-Bans (feminine, as everyone knows, is the new masculine) you’ll need to advertise yourself as a reader of trendy books. I’m not talking about the boring stuff like James Joyce or Henry James – people like us are far too trendy for “literature” that takes more than a few days, and a few braincells to read (stupidity, as everyone knows, is the new clever) – I’m talking about the kind of book with embossed type on the front cover with a briccollage-style design. I’m talking about books that you can only get in Vintage editions because Penguin paperbacks are far too mainstream and uniform. I’m talking about a new kind of book – trendfiction. Anyone not studying English like I do will obviously struggle to read the following list in terms of their Crypto-Marxist potential, or how they promote feminist politics, but you might be able to admire their blurb and use them as hipster ornamentation at the very least.
On the Road, Jack Kerouac
I have an affinity with Jack Kerouac. We are both era-defining people at the head of a counter culture. Jack likes jazz. I like jazz. Jacky likes poetry. I like poetry. When I visit my Uncle in Seven Oakes, I always play Jacks favourite pieces of music on his grand piano in the second music room. Like me, Kerouac felt alienated from the establishment – although he didn’t have the opportunity to go to a Russell Group University, surprisingly he managed to write a really good story. One problem with the book is Jack ran out of ideas and had to use moments from his own life. Although I’ll forgive him for his lack of University education.
When asked for an opinion on the book: Beats and beatniks are two very different things in this book which inspired me to come to University.
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
I have an affinity with Evelyn Waugh. I confess I’ve never read the book only seen the TV series from the eighties. I applied to Oxford, but didn’t want to go, so the book for me is a sort of replacement for the architecture and friends I could have been surrounded by. Toby Goring-Alexis from my old school went to Hertford with Roy-Roy Lavine and Hubert Lily from down the road. As I say, I could have been just like Charles and Sebastian, but Oxford is too elite for my politics. I didn’t want the great architecture, or the great curriculum. I really didn’t want it. Who would? Entrenching privilege. Daddy offered to donate a lot of money to the college, but I told him I really, really didn’t want to go.
When asked for an opinion on the book: Although Brideshead is about privilege it makes me feel really grateful for the sacrifices my family made to send me through private school.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
Thompson typed out F. Scott Fitzgerald almost constantly to try and imitate his style. I’ve tried my best to type out this book again and again but I can’t get past the first page. I think the best way to read this book is to look at the illustrations and almost let the words float into your imagination. I read the first line of the book once and closed the copy only to find I was able to say the words of the rest of the book without looking. I often take a copy to the nearest grassy verge and place it so that passers by can see I am being twee and maudlin whilst also being anarchic.
When asked for an opinion on the book: Its wrong to trash hotels and take drugs, and I’m only reading this book for the style.
Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood
I am a camera is just so poetic. I sometimes feel that I am also a camera. Everything I see I capture with a certain poise that the normals just can’t. If I am any kind of camera I would be Nikon DSLR. They are the best kind of camera. The novel is set in Weimar Germany which is the go-to aesthetic for parties. Bohemia is period costume, don’t you know?
When asked for an opinion on the book: Its about Germany.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Capote
One rule of thumb for a good book is that if its been made into a film, then it has to be amazing. Capote presents the glitterati and the “American geisha” which is the iconic Holly Golightly. Any book which encourages promiscuity in women is fine by me – although, this is a really misogynistic thing to say, and is totally against my world view. Although this is a chauvanist book written by a hyper-masculine author, its title sounds really good and thats all that matters.
When asked for an opinion on the book: What? Sorry I didn’t hear you *walk away very quickly*