When We Fell In Love – Greg Olear

By | on March 3, 2010 | 80 Comments

When I Fell in Love – Greg Olear

I “fell in love” in the same manner that Mike Campbell, Hemingway’s drunken wastrel, went bankrupt: gradually, and then all at once. Here is a timeline of my formative years, with the year read in parentheses:

(Note: I’m skipping the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, Charles Wallace, Boo Radley, the Tripods, the Chicken Man, various two-dimensional pilgrims to the Boulder Free Zone, and other childhood crushes for whom my ardor has not stood the test of time.)

1984 (1984)

The first grown-up book I ever read, at age eleven, impacted me almost as much as the video for Macintosh that ran during the Super Bowl that January. Not only do George Orwell and I share initials, his (pen) name is almost an anagram of “Greg Olear.” If I squint, it looks like I’m the author.

Lord of the Flies (1986)

The first and only time I finished the entire book when only the first three chapters were required.

Welcome to the Monkeyhouse (1987)

In which we are invited to identify with Billy the Poet, intercourse apologist and deflowerer of damsels in distress. Wow did I want to boink a Suicide Hostess.

The Sun Also Rises (1989)

Continuing the trend of crushing on novels that had absolutely no relevance to my dorkward existence, I picked this for a book report because my mother had a copy, and it was short, and it was featured on an episode of Cheers, in which Sam Malone, upon discovering that Jake Barnes had gotten his you-know-what shot off in the war, drops Diane’s coveted first edition into the bathtub. I’ve read this seven or eight times. I’m still in love with Brett Ashley—of whom Totally Killer‘s Taylor Schmidt is, perhaps, a kickass Gen X reincarnation.

Ulysses (1993)

Semester at NYU. Class on Joyce. Three months reading Bloomsday. Day he met Nora Barnacle. Name makes her sound clingy. Paddy Dignam and Simon Dedalus. Old professor. Irish of course. Name escapes me. O’Connell, O’Donnell. Long discussion on a single paragraph. Epiphany: dog spelled backward is God. Or is it God spelled. Profound anyway. Deep as a. Over my head, most of it. Understand it, no. Read it. Eyeballs scanned every word. Yes yes yes yes YES.

Paradise Lost (1994)

I did everything short of selling a kidney to get out of the “major author” prerequisite necessary to graduate from Georgetown with a bachelor’s in English literature, but after suffering through Shakespeare, I had no choice but to submit to a dourer DWEM. Lucky thing, because Milton turned out to be the best class I took in college, and Paradise Lost superior, in my view, to anything composed by the more-celebrated Stratford-upon-Avon Bard. (Sidenote: the professor who anotated my text, who also wrote the Cliff’s Notes, makes dubious claims such as, “Paradise Lost is not about politics,” when that is, in my reading, the epic poem’s main concern.) Milton is also the author of my favorite poem of all time.

From there I moved to Dolores Haze and John Shade, Pierce Inverarity and Bucky Wunderlick, Teresa Durbeyfield and Libbets Casey, Michael Valentine Smith and Andrew Wiggin, Maximilien Aue and Major Major, Vince Camden and Matt Prior, Jason Maddox and Wayne Fencer and Will the Thrill, and Paul Theroux in any of his various forms.

Literary love, it seems, is not monogamous.

[Author’s note: In honor of Jonathan Evison, I wore sweatpants when I wrote this].

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80 Responses to “When We Fell In Love – Greg Olear”

  1. March 10, 2010

    Duke Reply

    Jason Maddox is honored to have been included here, Greg, and I’m certain that Wayne Fencer is likewise honored. Do you think Jason and Wayne would get on?

  2. March 9, 2010

    Duke Reply

    Jason Maddox is honored to have been included here, Greg, and I’m certain that Wayne Fencer is likewise honored. Do you think Jason and Wayne would get on?

  3. March 10, 2010

    GMO Reply

    I think they would, yes. Wayne is ballsy, as we know, and Jason admires ballsy people, and is pretty ballsy himself. Maybe they could start a band and play Havana and Burning Man?

  4. March 10, 2010

    GMO Reply

    I think they would, yes. Wayne is ballsy, as we know, and Jason admires ballsy people, and is pretty ballsy himself. Maybe they could start a band and play Havana and Burning Man?

  5. March 25, 2010

    The Nervous Breakdown Reply

    […] couple of weeks ago, we posted Greg Olear's essay for the When We Fell In Love series, in which he wrote about The Sun Also Rises. Around the same […]

  6. March 26, 2010

    Simon Reply

    I’d like to hear more about these ‘Hardy’ boys.

    I’ve neatly dodged a number of these classics, purely by accident. Some day, you know?

  7. March 26, 2010

    Simon Reply

    I’d like to hear more about these ‘Hardy’ boys.

    I’ve neatly dodged a number of these classics, purely by accident. Some day, you know?

  8. March 26, 2010

    Irwin Reply

    I need to finish The Sun Also Rises. I’m about two thirds of the way through, but I’ve lost my copy of the book…

  9. March 26, 2010

    Irwin Reply

    I need to finish The Sun Also Rises. I’m about two thirds of the way through, but I’ve lost my copy of the book…

  10. March 26, 2010

    Gloria Reply

    Man. Can you believe I never read Welcome to the Monkey House. I’m not entirely sure how this is possible. It’s always been on my ever-growing list of books I’ll have to read one day. But reading was a gateway drug that lead me down a seedier, dirtier path: writing. If only there were enough time in the world. Did you ever see the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith called “Time Enough At Last”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last

    It’s wonderful. you can find it in three parts on Youtube.

    And yes! Yes to Encyclopedia Brown!

  11. March 26, 2010

    Gloria Reply

    Man. Can you believe I never read Welcome to the Monkey House. I’m not entirely sure how this is possible. It’s always been on my ever-growing list of books I’ll have to read one day. But reading was a gateway drug that lead me down a seedier, dirtier path: writing. If only there were enough time in the world. Did you ever see the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith called “Time Enough At Last”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last

    It’s wonderful. you can find it in three parts on Youtube.

    And yes! Yes to Encyclopedia Brown!

  12. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Simon – My favorite Hardy Boy is Thomas. “Tess” narrowly missed being on this list. Hardy is also one of the authors recommended by Holden Caulfield. “I love that Eustacia Vye,” he says. Who doesn’t?

    Jedi – I once read it in college, picking it up only when drunk. It’s one of the few books that gain perspective when read that way.

    Gloria – There are, if memory serves, some clunkers in there, but the title story is fantastic.

    Encyclopedia Brown sort of sounds like Indiana Jones, no?

    Thanks for reading.

  13. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Simon – My favorite Hardy Boy is Thomas. “Tess” narrowly missed being on this list. Hardy is also one of the authors recommended by Holden Caulfield. “I love that Eustacia Vye,” he says. Who doesn’t?

    Jedi – I once read it in college, picking it up only when drunk. It’s one of the few books that gain perspective when read that way.

    Gloria – There are, if memory serves, some clunkers in there, but the title story is fantastic.

    Encyclopedia Brown sort of sounds like Indiana Jones, no?

    Thanks for reading.

  14. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Gloria – I don’t think I saw the ep, but I’ve heard of it, or had it told to me. Ah, the cruel irony.

    I prefer the one about the guy who bets a finger his lighter won’t light — rewritten beautifully by Tarantino in the final chapter of the otherwise-ho-hum “Four Rooms.”

  15. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Gloria – I don’t think I saw the ep, but I’ve heard of it, or had it told to me. Ah, the cruel irony.

    I prefer the one about the guy who bets a finger his lighter won’t light — rewritten beautifully by Tarantino in the final chapter of the otherwise-ho-hum “Four Rooms.”

  16. March 26, 2010

    Nick Belardes Reply

    No Kerouac? You son of a bitch. Were you raised by wolves? J/K

    Of course I’m weird. I would have “John Carter of Mars” and “The House of the Seven Gables” on my list.

  17. March 26, 2010

    Nick Belardes Reply

    No Kerouac? You son of a bitch. Were you raised by wolves? J/K

    Of course I’m weird. I would have “John Carter of Mars” and “The House of the Seven Gables” on my list.

  18. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    I came to Kerouac too late to do me any good. For some reason, I never took to the Beats — probably because they were trotted out by certain pretentious pseudo-intellectuals I knew, not because they liked the books, but because they wanted to be seen reading the requisite books while smoking their clove cigarettes. This is not JK’s fault, of course, but I was never able to recover from the taint.

    I much prefer Henry Miller, who was doing the same sort of thing, but two decades earlier, and to much greater effect. As I wrote in an early TNB piece: Miller boinked Anais Nin; Kerouac lived with his mother. ‘Nuf said.

  19. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    I came to Kerouac too late to do me any good. For some reason, I never took to the Beats — probably because they were trotted out by certain pretentious pseudo-intellectuals I knew, not because they liked the books, but because they wanted to be seen reading the requisite books while smoking their clove cigarettes. This is not JK’s fault, of course, but I was never able to recover from the taint.

    I much prefer Henry Miller, who was doing the same sort of thing, but two decades earlier, and to much greater effect. As I wrote in an early TNB piece: Miller boinked Anais Nin; Kerouac lived with his mother. ‘Nuf said.

  20. March 26, 2010

    Nick Belardes Reply

    Yeah. Miller was the man. Kerouac was too in my mind. But then, I was exposed to him in a really weird way. I was traveling across country in an old hoopty. It broke down at an actual oasis in New Mexico. A traveler I met while sitting outside a dusty bar with dollar bills taped to its ceiling on old Route 66 handed me a copy of “On the Road.” I handed it back. I had no idea what it was, but I was living a similar life of road life. But then I met a professor who wrote the first book on the LA Beats. He was my history mentor. Rest is history… And that’s the really short version. I should go tell it on TNB.

    I always hated the pseudo-intellectual clove smokers. Even in Bakersfield, CA, they were a pretentious lot back in the mid 1980s.

  21. March 26, 2010

    Nick Belardes Reply

    Yeah. Miller was the man. Kerouac was too in my mind. But then, I was exposed to him in a really weird way. I was traveling across country in an old hoopty. It broke down at an actual oasis in New Mexico. A traveler I met while sitting outside a dusty bar with dollar bills taped to its ceiling on old Route 66 handed me a copy of “On the Road.” I handed it back. I had no idea what it was, but I was living a similar life of road life. But then I met a professor who wrote the first book on the LA Beats. He was my history mentor. Rest is history… And that’s the really short version. I should go tell it on TNB.

    I always hated the pseudo-intellectual clove smokers. Even in Bakersfield, CA, they were a pretentious lot back in the mid 1980s.

  22. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    That does sound like a good TNB post. And shit, if that dude handed me the new Dan Brown book, I’d read it. How could you not?

  23. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    That does sound like a good TNB post. And shit, if that dude handed me the new Dan Brown book, I’d read it. How could you not?

  24. March 26, 2010

    Richard Cox Reply

    You had me at George Orwell. Possibly my favorite “classic” writer, whatever that means. Is it like the original Coke formula? And what about the venerable Chevrolet Caprice Classic? Was that different than the Caprice? (Of course I had to look it up on Wikipedia and it turns out the Caprice became the Caprice Classic in 1973. So in that case the “classic” was the newer model.

    And of course Lord of the Flies. We already discussed Paradise Lost. This is a great list. And speaking of Dan Brown, Digital Fortress didn’t make the list?

  25. March 26, 2010

    Richard Cox Reply

    You had me at George Orwell. Possibly my favorite “classic” writer, whatever that means. Is it like the original Coke formula? And what about the venerable Chevrolet Caprice Classic? Was that different than the Caprice? (Of course I had to look it up on Wikipedia and it turns out the Caprice became the Caprice Classic in 1973. So in that case the “classic” was the newer model.

    And of course Lord of the Flies. We already discussed Paradise Lost. This is a great list. And speaking of Dan Brown, Digital Fortress didn’t make the list?

  26. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Thanks, Richard.

    Orwell totally holds up, too. It’s fascinating that politicians of every bent have claimed Orwell as one of them…right and left wing, conservative and liberal. That, too, speaks to the power of the book. One thing I didn’t get in sixth grade is the significance of a man named O’Brien wielding so much power in Britain.

    Dan Brown is a list unto himself. But to find the list, you have to decipher the code engraved on the stones at Chartes Cathedral. Can anyone help with that?

  27. March 26, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Thanks, Richard.

    Orwell totally holds up, too. It’s fascinating that politicians of every bent have claimed Orwell as one of them…right and left wing, conservative and liberal. That, too, speaks to the power of the book. One thing I didn’t get in sixth grade is the significance of a man named O’Brien wielding so much power in Britain.

    Dan Brown is a list unto himself. But to find the list, you have to decipher the code engraved on the stones at Chartes Cathedral. Can anyone help with that?

  28. March 27, 2010

    Lenore Reply

    Lord of the Flies scared the shit out of me. It still does. It was the first time I realized that men are all savages. Except for you, Greg.

  29. March 26, 2010

    Lenore Reply

    Lord of the Flies scared the shit out of me. It still does. It was the first time I realized that men are all savages. Except for you, Greg.

  30. March 27, 2010

    Tawni Reply

    Lord of the Flies really scared and affected me too. Such a creepy side of people, the ganging up on the weak. The wolf pack mentality has no honor; just savage and cowardly. It upsets me to be confronted with it in books or in the news.

  31. March 26, 2010

    Tawni Reply

    Lord of the Flies really scared and affected me too. Such a creepy side of people, the ganging up on the weak. The wolf pack mentality has no honor; just savage and cowardly. It upsets me to be confronted with it in books or in the news.

  32. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    I always identified with Piggy, because I wear glasses, and it would be awful to be trapped on an island like that and not be able to see.

    And yes, the wolf pack…ugh. Mob mentality. Least common denominator stuff. Awful. The entire purpose of civilization is to contain those base emotions.

    I also remember the theme, as hammered home by our teacher: the adults save the children…but who will save the adults?

    Thanks for reading.

  33. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    I always identified with Piggy, because I wear glasses, and it would be awful to be trapped on an island like that and not be able to see.

    And yes, the wolf pack…ugh. Mob mentality. Least common denominator stuff. Awful. The entire purpose of civilization is to contain those base emotions.

    I also remember the theme, as hammered home by our teacher: the adults save the children…but who will save the adults?

    Thanks for reading.

  34. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Oh, and Lenore…you flatter me.

  35. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Oh, and Lenore…you flatter me.

  36. March 27, 2010

    Becky Reply

    How can your ardor for Encyclopedia Brown not have stood the test of time???

    I still love the “you” (me? us?) character from the Choose Your Own Adventure series. I especially admired his/her ability to return from the dead and get “do overs” any time something bad happened.

  37. March 27, 2010

    Becky Reply

    How can your ardor for Encyclopedia Brown not have stood the test of time???

    I still love the “you” (me? us?) character from the Choose Your Own Adventure series. I especially admired his/her ability to return from the dead and get “do overs” any time something bad happened.

  38. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    How could I forget Choose Your Own Adventure!

    There was one E. Brown where the plot was foiled because the villain didn’t have his girlfriend seated in the proper seat at a pizza place. Girls are supposed to sit in…or was it out? I can’t remember. Some archaic rule from Arthurian times that I had never heard of, and that no one I knew would follow. After that, I lost interest. But I did like the one where the check was dated June 31, so EB knew it was fake.

  39. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    How could I forget Choose Your Own Adventure!

    There was one E. Brown where the plot was foiled because the villain didn’t have his girlfriend seated in the proper seat at a pizza place. Girls are supposed to sit in…or was it out? I can’t remember. Some archaic rule from Arthurian times that I had never heard of, and that no one I knew would follow. After that, I lost interest. But I did like the one where the check was dated June 31, so EB knew it was fake.

  40. March 27, 2010

    Chris Reply

    I’m surprised you don’t list The Crying of Lot 49, Greg. While you might have been having erotic fantasies about reading as a youth, wasn’t Pynchon the one who first touched your Yoyo as an adult? That’s what really leads to love, eh?

  41. March 27, 2010

    Chris Reply

    I’m surprised you don’t list The Crying of Lot 49, Greg. While you might have been having erotic fantasies about reading as a youth, wasn’t Pynchon the one who first touched your Yoyo as an adult? That’s what really leads to love, eh?

  42. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Shall I yoyo-deign to expand on your pun?

    I didn’t read that until after college (your copy), so I didn’t include it here, although I do mention the perhaps-dearly-departed Pierce Inverarity.

    Next time, use W.A.S.T.E.

  43. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Shall I yoyo-deign to expand on your pun?

    I didn’t read that until after college (your copy), so I didn’t include it here, although I do mention the perhaps-dearly-departed Pierce Inverarity.

    Next time, use W.A.S.T.E.

  44. March 27, 2010

    Charles Reply

    This gives me some ideas for my re-read list. Haven’t read Sun Also Rises since I had to read it in high school, and my Hemingway consumption has been nil since then.

    I’m pretty sure 1984 was the first ‘grown up’ book I read as well. I followed that with ‘Brave New World.’ I was a nerd about dystopias.

    My first literary obsession: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Primary thing I remember from it is that it used the phrase ‘making a tinkle.’ I thought that was the greatest phrase in the history of the English language.

  45. March 27, 2010

    Charles Reply

    This gives me some ideas for my re-read list. Haven’t read Sun Also Rises since I had to read it in high school, and my Hemingway consumption has been nil since then.

    I’m pretty sure 1984 was the first ‘grown up’ book I read as well. I followed that with ‘Brave New World.’ I was a nerd about dystopias.

    My first literary obsession: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Primary thing I remember from it is that it used the phrase ‘making a tinkle.’ I thought that was the greatest phrase in the history of the English language.

  46. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Interestingly, Charles, JC (whose site this is) also just read TSAR:

    http://threeguysonebook.com/the-sun-also-rises

    I still love that book.

    I forgot about Superfudge. Oh, man. And Dribble, the turtle. “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” is one of the great titles. It really is.

    What is it about kids and dystopia?

    Thanks for reading.

  47. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Interestingly, Charles, JC (whose site this is) also just read TSAR:

    http://threeguysonebook.com/the-sun-also-rises

    I still love that book.

    I forgot about Superfudge. Oh, man. And Dribble, the turtle. “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” is one of the great titles. It really is.

    What is it about kids and dystopia?

    Thanks for reading.

  48. March 27, 2010

    Brady Reply

    I would certainly have thought I’d see Great Gatsby in there somewhere…

    I’m also a little surprised you didn’t talk about some of the books that stiffed you, maybe making you rethink your desire to be involved. A little Pride & Prejudice prejudice, if you will.

  49. March 27, 2010

    Brady Reply

    I would certainly have thought I’d see Great Gatsby in there somewhere…

    I’m also a little surprised you didn’t talk about some of the books that stiffed you, maybe making you rethink your desire to be involved. A little Pride & Prejudice prejudice, if you will.

  50. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Brady: Ha!

    The PPP would have been a much longer list, and many canonized names would be on it. Dickens, Dostoyevski, Austen, Steinbeck, Willa Cather. We read “My Antonia” in high school. It was torture. Maybe I’d feel differently now.

    I liked GG okay when I first read it, but it didn’t overwhelm me at the time. It grew on me slowly. Like cancer, but good.

    Thanks for reading.

  51. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Brady: Ha!

    The PPP would have been a much longer list, and many canonized names would be on it. Dickens, Dostoyevski, Austen, Steinbeck, Willa Cather. We read “My Antonia” in high school. It was torture. Maybe I’d feel differently now.

    I liked GG okay when I first read it, but it didn’t overwhelm me at the time. It grew on me slowly. Like cancer, but good.

    Thanks for reading.

  52. March 27, 2010

    DH Reply

    You find writers who are like brothers and sisters but we all assemble different families. I never could stand JJ and still feel guilty about it. But I adopted Thomas Mann like almost instantly. It seemed like I loved him before I read him. I loved that Eustacia Vye too. But to this day, I never figured out what “reddle” is. That substance is in Return of the Native, right?

    Love Hawthorne. Austen has been killed by her friends and she doesn’t deserve it. Homer over the Hardy Boys any day. You have to grow up sometime. It’s worth it.

    Cather? I’m pissed off by writers who are a little innovative but won’t go all the way. Not that it’s easy to know where all the way is.

  53. March 27, 2010

    DH Reply

    You find writers who are like brothers and sisters but we all assemble different families. I never could stand JJ and still feel guilty about it. But I adopted Thomas Mann like almost instantly. It seemed like I loved him before I read him. I loved that Eustacia Vye too. But to this day, I never figured out what “reddle” is. That substance is in Return of the Native, right?

    Love Hawthorne. Austen has been killed by her friends and she doesn’t deserve it. Homer over the Hardy Boys any day. You have to grow up sometime. It’s worth it.

    Cather? I’m pissed off by writers who are a little innovative but won’t go all the way. Not that it’s easy to know where all the way is.

  54. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Reddle is a red dye they use to mark the wool of sheep, I believe. An archaic practice, even at the time.

    Have never read Mann…I should give him a try. Agree about Hawthorne…I have my own theory about Dimmsdale’s scarlet A — it was sunburn.

    Homer is terrific, even if I first encountered the Odyssey via d’Aulaire’s (which I still refer to sometimes). The best thing I got from the Hardy Boys was how to do surveillance (across the street, not directly behind).

    CHRONOGRAM magazine had a contest a few years ago…the idea was to cobble titles together and come up with a blurb. I had three, one of which was THE STORY OF O, PIONEERS. (My best one was THE PELICAN BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME: “A mad scientist threatens to explain the entire known universe…unless a Memphis DA can stop him.”)

  55. March 27, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Reddle is a red dye they use to mark the wool of sheep, I believe. An archaic practice, even at the time.

    Have never read Mann…I should give him a try. Agree about Hawthorne…I have my own theory about Dimmsdale’s scarlet A — it was sunburn.

    Homer is terrific, even if I first encountered the Odyssey via d’Aulaire’s (which I still refer to sometimes). The best thing I got from the Hardy Boys was how to do surveillance (across the street, not directly behind).

    CHRONOGRAM magazine had a contest a few years ago…the idea was to cobble titles together and come up with a blurb. I had three, one of which was THE STORY OF O, PIONEERS. (My best one was THE PELICAN BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME: “A mad scientist threatens to explain the entire known universe…unless a Memphis DA can stop him.”)

  56. March 28, 2010

    Matt Reply

    I like this question. I am curious why you so readily dismiss those first childhood crushes. I still think about Barbie Frye every once in a while. And I continue to read Roald Dahl, though more his short stories these days.

    Also, this made me dig up the old Imperium Master Booklist. When was the last time you updated your top 20 list?

  57. March 28, 2010

    Matt Reply

    I like this question. I am curious why you so readily dismiss those first childhood crushes. I still think about Barbie Frye every once in a while. And I continue to read Roald Dahl, though more his short stories these days.

    Also, this made me dig up the old Imperium Master Booklist. When was the last time you updated your top 20 list?

  58. March 28, 2010

    Duke Reply

    I personally don’t think bonking Anais Nin is much to crow about, Greg. Now, LuAnne Henderson, Neal Cassady’s first wife who was bedded by Kerouac, is a whole other story.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29873672@N02/3606950363/

  59. March 28, 2010

    Duke Reply

    I personally don’t think bonking Anais Nin is much to crow about, Greg. Now, LuAnne Henderson, Neal Cassady’s first wife who was bedded by Kerouac, is a whole other story.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29873672@N02/3606950363/

  60. March 28, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Matt – The childhood crushes I don’t remember very well, quite like actual childhood crushes. And I don’t know that I’ve ever had a Top 20 books list; just a movie list on YMDB.

  61. March 28, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Matt – The childhood crushes I don’t remember very well, quite like actual childhood crushes. And I don’t know that I’ve ever had a Top 20 books list; just a movie list on YMDB.

  62. March 28, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Duke – You’re right, as usual. I suppose everyone and their grandmother did sleep with Nin — or, to be more accurate, everyone and her father. But it does make for a good one-liner, you must admit.

    Curiously, I find your stuff to be Milleresque in many ways (as I’ve mentioned), although I know your heart is with JK.

  63. March 28, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Duke – You’re right, as usual. I suppose everyone and their grandmother did sleep with Nin — or, to be more accurate, everyone and her father. But it does make for a good one-liner, you must admit.

    Curiously, I find your stuff to be Milleresque in many ways (as I’ve mentioned), although I know your heart is with JK.

  64. March 28, 2010

    Duke Reply

    Well, the very fact that we’re having this exchange is, on my part, due to JK. It was reading “On the Road” that opened me to the idea of becoming a writer, since, in JK’s case, being a writer was all mixed up with girls and adventure and intoxicants and youth. I was aware of Miller, without having read him, before I discovered JK, but Miller was already middle-aged when he published his first book, and, in the first images I saw of him, elderly. The image I had of JK was very different, images being very important to me as a teenager, to say nothing of girls and adventure and intoxicants.

    Yes, your one-liner is a good one.

  65. March 28, 2010

    Duke Reply

    Well, the very fact that we’re having this exchange is, on my part, due to JK. It was reading “On the Road” that opened me to the idea of becoming a writer, since, in JK’s case, being a writer was all mixed up with girls and adventure and intoxicants and youth. I was aware of Miller, without having read him, before I discovered JK, but Miller was already middle-aged when he published his first book, and, in the first images I saw of him, elderly. The image I had of JK was very different, images being very important to me as a teenager, to say nothing of girls and adventure and intoxicants.

    Yes, your one-liner is a good one.

  66. March 28, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    It matters most of all when we come to something, is what it amounts to. Graham Greene, for example, I didn’t discover until fairly recently, and I thought, “Wow, I really would have liked this when I was 23.” I doubt that a 50-year-old who had never read Salinger before would feel for CITR as much as a teenager would, nor would a teenager dig on Proust.

    I also saw JK as wrapped up in intoxicants, which was, for me, a turn off. But then, I was quite a dork when I was young. (“When I was young” may me too much of a qualifier in that sentence).

    In any event, I am grateful to JK for inspiring DRH…as well many other writers I like whom he inspired.

  67. March 28, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    It matters most of all when we come to something, is what it amounts to. Graham Greene, for example, I didn’t discover until fairly recently, and I thought, “Wow, I really would have liked this when I was 23.” I doubt that a 50-year-old who had never read Salinger before would feel for CITR as much as a teenager would, nor would a teenager dig on Proust.

    I also saw JK as wrapped up in intoxicants, which was, for me, a turn off. But then, I was quite a dork when I was young. (“When I was young” may me too much of a qualifier in that sentence).

    In any event, I am grateful to JK for inspiring DRH…as well many other writers I like whom he inspired.

  68. March 29, 2010

    MP Reply

    I was gratified to see Vonnegut make your list. But no CAT’S CRADLE???

  69. March 28, 2010

    MP Reply

    I was gratified to see Vonnegut make your list. But no CAT’S CRADLE???

  70. March 29, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    I read CC in high school, but I’m not sure I understood it, or that it formed much of an impression on me. I know I was pleased that I understood the reference to Ice Nine on the Joe Satriani album. Although, now that you mention it, CC was the inspiration for my “song about nothing,” “Of Cats & Cradles,” featuring a young MP on lead guitar…

    Thanks for reading.

  71. March 29, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    I read CC in high school, but I’m not sure I understood it, or that it formed much of an impression on me. I know I was pleased that I understood the reference to Ice Nine on the Joe Satriani album. Although, now that you mention it, CC was the inspiration for my “song about nothing,” “Of Cats & Cradles,” featuring a young MP on lead guitar…

    Thanks for reading.

  72. March 29, 2010

    Richard Klin Reply

    I stand in awe of your list (I’m actually sitting down, but still…) ULYSSES? Milton? I read CANDIDE when I was around twelve, then reread it in college and realized I’d missed most of its meaning the first time around.

    It’s odd how time does change one’s perception of books and writers.

  73. March 29, 2010

    Richard Klin Reply

    I stand in awe of your list (I’m actually sitting down, but still…) ULYSSES? Milton? I read CANDIDE when I was around twelve, then reread it in college and realized I’d missed most of its meaning the first time around.

    It’s odd how time does change one’s perception of books and writers.

  74. March 29, 2010

    Mike Reply

    I distinctly remember when I first fell in love with reading. I was watching a movie at the time, and in that movie, there was a song about a short story that had been written about books and reading, and such. That’s what sealed the deal for me. I can’t remember what that movie was, but I was surprised to not see it on your list, Greg.

  75. March 29, 2010

    Mike Reply

    I distinctly remember when I first fell in love with reading. I was watching a movie at the time, and in that movie, there was a song about a short story that had been written about books and reading, and such. That’s what sealed the deal for me. I can’t remember what that movie was, but I was surprised to not see it on your list, Greg.

  76. March 29, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Richard – CANDIDE…that’s the play about yeast allergies right? But seriously…time does change perceptions, and one never knows what might speak to you when you experience it. That’s true of all art, but most of all, novels.

    Mike – I believe the movie was “Mike & Mike’s Excellent Adventure.” But it may have been the horror film “Four of Fish and Finger Pies.” Not sure.

    Thanks for reading.

  77. March 29, 2010

    Greg Olear Reply

    Richard – CANDIDE…that’s the play about yeast allergies right? But seriously…time does change perceptions, and one never knows what might speak to you when you experience it. That’s true of all art, but most of all, novels.

    Mike – I believe the movie was “Mike & Mike’s Excellent Adventure.” But it may have been the horror film “Four of Fish and Finger Pies.” Not sure.

    Thanks for reading.

  78. May 3, 2010

    MarkSpizer Reply

    great post as usual!

  79. May 3, 2010

    MarkSpizer Reply

    great post as usual!

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