5 Books for 5 Different Bad Boys
1. Tennesse Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, by John Lahr
Emotionally unstable, pill-popping, alcoholic and brilliant, this book underscores details of the great playwright’s life. Focusing on his creative process, the book also highlights his insecurities and troubled relationships. The most entertaining and revealing passages deal with the backstage glimpses it offers on the way his successful plays were written, casted, rehearsed and premiered. For those who enjoy biographies of artists and celebrities.
2. American Psycho, by Bret Eston Ellis
A huge success when first published in 2000, the first person narrative of Wall Street investment banker Patrick Bateman is still relevant today, when seen through the lens of a totally different historic context. Human ambition and extreme corruption are themes that have always interested a certain kind of reader. A more palatable and modern version of The Marquis de Sade’s stories, this tale of an obsessive yuppie on a sexual and murderous rampage (has it really happened outside the narrator’s head?) in 1980s Manhattan still resonates with those who enjoy gory, sexy and thrilling stories, especially due to the modern writing, chock-full of pop references (ranging from songs, to Broadway plays to fashion).
3. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
A poetic and delicate account of the relationship between rock singer Patti Smith and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the books tells of their meeting as young souls trying to find their way in 1960s New York; their difficult beginnings, when money was scarce and hard to come by; their life together in the famous Chelsea Hotel, where they had the chance to meet many of the celebrities of the time and be influenced by their art and creativity. The book is also a celebration of the artistic temperament and all the difficulties it entails. A must-read for their fans, or readers who enjoy books about one of the most revolutionary and artistically productive times of the XX century.
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
This classic, a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is considered by the critics one of the greatest literary achievements of a North American writer. Narrated by the main character, in his own southern dialect, packed with local slang, idiosyncratic rhythm and grammar, the novel is a pleasure to read. At the end of Tom Sawyer, both Huck and Tom had found a hidden treasure which would allow them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. Huck, the son a drunk hobo, is then placed under the guardianship of a wealthy widow, who was in charge of his education and bent on making him acquire the good manners expected from a wealthy gentleman. Huck, however, is a force of nature, and refuses to comply with the “good widow’s plan. He runs away, coming across the fugitive black slave, Jim. Together, they embark on a voyage of self-discovery and search for freedom, navigating a rift down the Mississippi River. Through this deceptively simple narrative device, Mark Twain presents the readers a panoramic view of the values, the culture and myths of the American society in the first decade of the XIX century. For those who enjoy coming-of-age stories, filled humor and witticisms.
5. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
The ultimate bad boy book, as both the author and the protagonist were seriously looked down upon by the conventional and respectable Victorian Society of XIX century England. As you probably know, Oscar Wilde was imprisoned on charges on sodomy and corruption. Dorian Gray, on the other hand, had a more tragic end, as you will find out when you read the book. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a disturbing study of corruption, evil and narcissism. An extremely handsome young man, Dorian Gray, has his full-length picture painted in oil by artist Basil Howard, who is infatuated with him. Through Basil, Dorian falls under the corrupting influence of the hedonistic Lord Henry Wotton, who persuades the young man that life should be lived to the full. Influenced by Wotton’s libertine ideas, Dorian sells his soul, remaining forever young, while his portrait ages and registers the progressively hideous sins the young man will dedicated his debased life to. For readers who admire the sophisticated and witty language of the author, as well, as those who identify with Dorian’s wish to never grow old.