Sunday, September 5, 2010

These Books Will Change Your Life - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert and Why I Fight by J. Adams Oaks.

Travel. Read. Non-work travel. More read. And this week we have sucked down two novels with much in common. Stephanie Kuehnert and J. Adams Oaks, the authors of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone and Why I Fight respectively, are both products of Columbia College's fine fiction writing program here in Chicago and both still live here, further expanding, defining and building the argument for Chicago's should be respected position as a mecca of killer American writing. Further, both books are debut novels that touch on violence and broken families and like all debut novels include some sort of road trip that inevitably becomes a journey. Finally, we have been sitting on these books for some time now, but know no reason for why this is. And so here we are, read and read, perfect books for days on the beach, late nights, car rides, trains and planes, with I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone a tribute to all things punk, and what music can be, escape, healing, and power, and Why I Fight an exploration of violence, in this case bare knuckle fighting, as a reaction to and a salve for confusion, pain and fear. In some ways both are about how we express what we cannot understand or control in the rawest most immediate ways possible with the hope that maybe, just maybe we will gain the tools needed to grow, find balance and live with hurts that never quite go away. Both books should also change your life, at least for a hot moment, so go check them out, now, there, good.

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