Okay, I admit it … I’m attracted to bad boys.
For their books, that is. At least according to Howard Jacobson’s piece, “In Praise of Bad Boys’ Books,” which mentions some of my favorite writers, like Henry Miller and Philip Roth.
Jacobson articulates a quality that I think sums up a lot of the writers I love rather nicely, that:
In their own individual, rancidly sardonic way these novels of which I speak are always funny.
I like serious novels as much as the next guy – I took English 847 “Seminar in the American Novel” with Post-45 guru and bona fide rock star Florence Dore during library school for fun – but the stuff I love, and go back to again and again, although serious, is always funny, and maybe even a little bit trashy . These books may not always be redemptive – if you want that go read Nicholas Sparks – but they always delight me, and allow me access into the twisted consciousness of another person trying to make sense of it all.
[S]ome novelists make it possible for us to stare at pain with bitter and derisive comedy, and because there is a part of us that values truth above illusion, we grab at that bitter comedy for dear life.