Now that I’m just about done writing Been There, Done That, I feel free to read again, something I’ve badly missed over the past 2+ years (didn’t want to be “influenced” by other writers’ style). Have been devouring autobiographies, wanting to see where I’ve screwed up, what I’ve gotten right, and to “hear” how others’ voices sound on the page.
Tucker Max is hysterical and painfully honest and admirably, his writing has really evolved since his first book, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.” Yet, there is still something about him that makes me want to punch him in his face.
Keith Richards, the greatest rock star of all-time, and Nelson Mandela, perhaps the greatest man of all time, have somehow managed to write boring books. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how this is possible, especially given that I’ve been deeply in the process myself and think I understand all of this. Mind-boggling, really.
I’m pretty sure I’ve now read every major rock n’ roll autobiography there is. I’m attracted to this, as the self-styled outlaw element usually doesn’t care what others think and let it all hang out there – something I aspired to from the day I tapped out the first sentence of “Been There, Done That,” and kept to –I think—throughout the process.
“The Dirt” by Motley Crue takes my grand prize. Like Tucker, honest and hysterical. But way beyond Mr.-I’m-gonna-get-punched-in-the-face, there is depth and dimension that greatly belies the hair and makeup, and the “standard” tales of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll debauchery. These guys live REAL.
MY grand prize –which alas, is simply my admiration—goes to Gregory David Roberts and his instant classic, “Shantaram.” If you’re to read one book in this lifetime, I’d strongly suggest this masterpiece of adventure, soul-searching and redemption. With my many upcoming trips to India, I plan on stalking Greg –who’ve I corresponded with ever-so-briefly—and MAKING him ride bikes with me across part of that great country.
I’d still love to meet Messrs. Mandela and Richards one day. Writing styles aside, we can all only aspire to reach the heights these two great gentlemen have, and it would be an honor to simply be in their respective presence. And for “meeting” Mr. Max? Well, shit. He’s got the sixty or so bucks I’ve spent buying his books. I guess he can think about that, –and the notion that he’s been mentioned in the same breath as Nelson Mandela—while he’s lying on his back staring at the ceiling.
For more on my favorite books, check out “Stuff I like”