Welcome once again to BEAT book club, where we ask people clearly blessed with first-rate taste to impart some wisdom and recommend some really good reads. This time around we asked absolute don Drugdealer aka Michael Collins of Run DMT and Salvia Plath to select his top five books.
Collins released The End of Comedy, his debut album under the Drugdealer moniker, back in September through Weird World and it’s probably the best thing he’s ever done. The album even includes some notable guest features from Ariel Pink, Mac Demarco’s band and Weyes Blood, who you can check out below in the vid for album title-track ‘The End of Comedy’.
Discover Collins’ top reads below and find out what he had to say about them…
Jean Baudrillard America
“Simply the greatest travel writing I’ve ever found. In a large part because it focuses not on the minutiae of different roadside destinations as much as it does outline the French Philosopher’s idea of what is at the core of “astral America.” Easily the most comical and least daunting of his books, Baudrillard perfectly describes NYC’s “sheer ecstasy of being crowded together,” as well as the vanishing point irony of the Californian highway culture.”
William T. Vollmann Poor People
“Many people don’t know about Vollmann but literary giants often praise him as a messiah. He has a penchant for writing sprawling masterpieces about subjects that seem too vast to tackle; a compendium of violence in Rising Up and Rising Down, complete history of the SE American and Mexico border in Imperial, and global poverty in Poor People. In the latter, Vollmann uses extensive research and impossibly comprehensive experiences spent with people all around the world to ask each of them the question, “why are you poor?” The answers are incredible.”
Alan Watts The Wisdom of Insecurity
“A classic look at the quest for security and sanity in the “age of anxiety.” Evocatively explores the feedback loop which involves modern people trying to control themselves and offers outlooks that instead embrace the fluid nature of reality outside of quantification. A book that focuses of the idea of the present moment, and prophetically details the real anxiety epidemic that we live in now, 70 odd years later.”
Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way
“The only self-help book I’ve ever read, The Artist’s Way, is more of a practical guide to recognizing the toxic nature of doubt and intimidation in the art world. Julia Cameron compassionately identifies major issues in the way that artist’s look at themselves in the context of their work and personal lives, as well as offering smart methods of repairing spiritual wounds in pursuing your “second act” as an artist employing self-care. I find it to be immeasurably relevant amongst so many people I know that have been through the arts institutions and try to recommend it to as many as I can.”
J.D. Salinger Nine Stories
“My favorite collection of short stories. When I was younger, feeling completely alienated in the suburb I grew up in, I read this book countless times. It just makes you want to write. The perfect meditation on how people’s lives push up against each other.”