Woody Allen recommends3 min read

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Some amusing and brilliant fiction books to read

“The World of S.J.Perelman” by S.J. Perelman

– Woody Allen’s interview

For those who love satire and parody and the off-balance wit of Woody Allen, Perelman’s sketches embrace absurdity and revel in the eccentricities of pop culture. From car dealers to movie mavens, from Broadway to writing screenplays for the Marx Brothers, the author reviews them all with a quizzical eye. Per The Paris Review, the humor writer saw his job in a Marilyn Monroe light, as the dance of a ‘cat on a hot tin roof’. Alone among the madmen and wishing in vain for peace, the author relates some of his written work and the drama in between.

                  “Elia Kazan: A Biography” by Richard Schickel

– Woody Allen’s interview

Like Ariana Huffington, Kazan was born to Greek parents and lived in a swirl of controversy. Unlike her, Kazan focused his life on moving pictures, and the development of realistic method acting. These included intense and moody works such as Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire, culminating in the Marlon Brando classic – On the Waterfront. His fame suffered when he gave out names of American Communists at the request of the House Un-American Activities Committee, but he is better known for his prolific writings and enthusiasm for blonde actresses.

“Epitaph of a SmallWinner” by Machado de Assis

– Woody Allen’s interview

For those who enjoy portraits of people who have unlocked the mysteries of life beyond the grave, Assis can offer a surrealist self-analysis of his main character Brás Cubas, steeped in the culture of Brazil. Cubas says what he really thinks about the presumption of grave worms, and the positivity of never passing on his earthly miseries to hapless heirs. Even for today, the New York Times indicates that the author’s critique of colonialism may be ‘radical’. His character’s perspective was influenced by the author’s life of poverty, slavery, and epilepsy – and the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer. In turn, Assis was an influence on Woody Allen, who thought him insightful and even brilliant. Great book to read next

“Catcher in the Rye”by J. D. Salinger

– Woody Allen’s interview

Also mentioned in Haruki Murakami Recommends 5 Good Books To Read, recommended by Bill Gates

Catcher in the Rye is undoubtfully a classical work of the American literature and is very popular in “Top 10 books” lists. This novel was the peak of J.D. Salinger’s career, as after it was published, he decided to live a life of a hermit. The main character being an expelled student named Holden Caulfield, the book is a first-person story written in the accordingly stylized language. Though he is just 16, he encounters many events that tend to preclude adults. Catcher in the Rye is about a youth of 1960-s,but it is still actual today.

“Really The Blues” by Mezz Mezzrow

– Woody Allen’s interview

Red Hot Jazz focuses on the book’s first sentence as the linchpin to the rest of the story. The main character’s saxophone education, learned at a Reformatory rather than a music school, flavors the other period-piece imagery: smoky dens and dance halls, tea and opium dens, and women of all sorts of ill repute. Harlem prisons and jails are scattered throughout the text, along with the music – always the music. As a Chicago resident, the author’s interactions with Al Capone included telling him off for interfering with staff hires since he couldn’t judge between the good and bad of his own whisky. If nothing else, this book is an eye-opening experience and re-education in words like ‘hipster’ and ‘gumbeaters’.

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