📙 On the Road

Jack Kerouac | American | 1922–1969

On the Road is the novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States. It has been described as, “one of the great American novels.” Above all else, it is a story about loss. Ted Gioia contends that it is a book of broken dreams and failed plans. It’s a book about the search for something meaningful to hold on to,” writes Meghan O’Rourke, “the famous search for ‘it,’ a truth larger than the self, which, of course, is never found.”

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.

Today, Kerouac is considered a literary iconoclast, recognised for his method of spontaneous prose — covering e.g., spirituality, promiscuity, drugs and poverty — and continues to be something of an underground celebrity. As Hilary Holladay puts it, “Kerouac was this deep, lonely, melancholy man… [you read this] sense of loss and sorrow on every page.” According to John Leland, aspects of the book such as the tales of passionate friendships and the search for revelation, “are timeless.”

Happiness consists in realising it is all a great strange dream.

📙 Remains of the Day

(Kazuo Ishiguro | British | 1954– )

This is a moving book about the repressing of our desires. It is about how class conditioning can turn you into your own worst enemy, making you complicit in your own subservience. This book will strike a cord with anyone who feels they’ve ever held themselves back when something that truly mattered was within their grasp.

Hear all about it here

The [remainder] of my life stretches out as an emptiness before me.

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (who was born in Japan but moved to England at the age of five) is considered one of the eminent contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world, winning the Man Booker Prize for his 1989 novel, The Remains of the Day.

What can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves?

📙 Our Man in Havana

(1904–1991)

This is an amusing read and makes me think of the phrase, “the devil makes work for idle hands'” because in the book, Greene makes fun of the British intelligence service and its willingness to believe reports from their bored local informant. Listen here!

I don’t care a damn about men who are loyal to the people who pay them…

English novelist Graham Greene is oftentimes regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.