Smith Journal Preview: Henry Rollins’ Favourite Books Of All Time

Hooray! The latest issue of Smith Journal has landed (read out interview with Editor-at-Large Rick Bannister here) with features on pinball machines, Japanese inventors, designer Aaron James Draplin of Field Notes and a modern-day pirate named Ray Ives. Elsewhere Dave Eggers writes a short essay about 10 things he loves, Christos Tsiolkas writes on why Australians are darn lucky and Henry Rollins shares his top ten novels of all time, a preview of which you can read below.

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Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont (Isidore Lucien Ducasse)
A violent, insane and wildly beautiful work that Ducasse published in 1869 at age 24; I read it on tour in 1984 at age 23. It never occurred to me that such intensely violent imagery and boldness was possible until I read this book. It was quite a lesson.

Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe
A great and massive chunk of pre-WWII (barely) American literature, which is even more astonishing when you find out how young Wolfe was when he wrote it. This was the book that I read hundreds of others to finally find. I lived in this book for weeks.

Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
This was not the first book of Selby’s that I read, but it was the one that made me stop writing and contact him, which started a friendship that lasted from December 1986, when I was 25, to his death in April 2004, where I spoke at this memorial service. Selby made me re-think everything: what literature was, what it could be and my motivation for writing.

Words By Henry Rollins