Books of 2014 - #34: Ask the Dust by John Fante
I read this on the recommendation of my dental hygienist. It was certainly worth it, though this is one that probably isn’t for everybody.
This book was pretty dark, in similar ways as the handful of other books I’ve read from the 30s. I know that every decade/generation has its dark works and hard times, but certain decades seem to be darker than others. The 70s are like that, the first decade of the 20th century is, too, and the 30s. I know there was a depression, but it just seems like there was a shadow over everything. In some ways literally so, since the next book I’m reading is about the dust bowl.
The protagonist of this book is a young Italian American who has moved to LA to become a writer. Why he goes to LA isn’t really clear to me since he is actually further from his publisher than his hometown in Colorado. But he seems to have no maturity about money or working or anything else. And that seems to very much be the point with his character. He is young and stupid, and not particularly sympathetic. He’s sometimes abusive, often petty, only to regret it immediately afterward if not while he’s acting that way.
The story is largely about a relationship he develops with a young woman - a particularly unhealthy relationship. Even while he becomes somewhat successful as a writer, his personally life stays more or less a wreck in a way that I can’t begin to understand, and yet I do believe that some people behave this way. The only thing that I don’t really think works about it is the role that marijuana plays in their relationship (mainly the woman’s use of it). I felt like he was trying trying to imply that pot was doing something to her personality that isn’t really how people are affected by it. It would have been more plausible simply to explain the character as emotionally unstable, which she was. And the protagonist was too, but perhaps less so.
All said and done. I would recommend this, but only to people that I know like to read dark stuff. And even then, probably not everyone. Bukowski fans might like this, if for nothing else than the fact that Bukowski loved it and wrote a preface for it in 1980. Readers of Hemmingway might even be into it. I wouldn’t push it on anyone who isn’t already a big fan of early twentieth century lit, though. I likely won’t bring this up with my sci-fi-fantasy friends or my Victorian enthusiasts.
I’ve been eating Cliff Bars, Luna Bars, and other bars for quite some time now. And the ingredients are usually not the best. There are some bars out there that have few ingredients, but those are around 2 - 3$ per bar, and I’m sick of paying that much for one bar. So I looked at the ingredients of the healthiest ones, and decided to make my own.
Here’s a list of the ingredients I used:
- Ground Almonds,
- Dates(cut up into small pieces),
- Coconut shreds,
- Vanilla Extract,
- Carob Powder and,
Most of these ingredients can be found in Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I didn’t put how much I used of each because I don’t even know myself.
After mixing all of those together I decided to make two flavors(one with carob and one without). Then I cut everything into smaller rectangles, and put them in a container into the freezer.
For bonus points: walk into the corner of your counter. Also, be sure to touch hot surfaces for extra baker points.
During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that…