Tag: J.D.Salinger

8 Books About Descending into Madness Before ‘The Joker’ Comes Out

Before Todd Phillips sends in the clown and unveils The Joker on a silver screen this October 4th, let’s look through some of the some of the best books about absolutely losing your mind.

This movie is a tough cookie for us. Yes, it’s based partially on The Killing Joke, but what it’s taken from Alan Moore’s iconic graphic novel appears to just be a few bits and pieces (although I’m making a bet right now that the scene when the Joker goes on stage is the beginning to that horrific scene from The Dark Knight Returns), but besides that, the influences on Todd Phillips’ newest ‘comedy’ is mostly from old Scorcese films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Mean Streets, and King of Comedy.

So how do we talk about this film? Well, we’re going to do exactly what the title of this article says and go through the top eight greatest books about descending into madness. You know the meme.

 

Joker Meme

Image Via ME.ME

 

Well, turns out that society has always been pretty terrible, a hotbed for madness. But how mad is that madness? Let’s find out. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

 

8-Life of Pi by Yann Martel

 

I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you… stranger. – The Dark Knight

 

Life of Pi by [Martel, Yann]

Image Via Amazon

 

I know what you’re thinking: this is a book about a boy living on a boat with a tiger after a shipwreck, but is it?

Let’s start at the beginning: Pi was bullied by his peer relentlessly before writing out the square root of pi (well, as much as he could) in order to change his nickname from ‘Pissing Patel’ to ‘Pi.’ Thus, he faced society’s onslaught, and that’s only in the prologue.

Do things get better from there? Well, he was certainly one of the few survivors from a shipwreck but after that things get fuzzy.

He tells a writer he’s interviewing with that he survived on the lifeboat with a tiger, a spotted hyena, and a zebra with a broken leg. The hyena kills the zebra and the tiger kills the zebra, and Pi manages to befriend the tiger before returning to land. Pi is saved and the tiger escapes, wandering into the wilderness never to be found again.

But the official story is far worse. The survivors on the boat weren’t a zebra, a hyena, and a tiger, but rather Pi’s mother, a brutish cook, and Pi himself. The cook killed his mother and then Pi killed the cook, feasting on human remains and using other pieces as fish bait.

Which is the true story? Did Pi do the impossible and live on the water with a tiger, or did he go crazy and imagine a tiger to make himself feel better?

Maybe Pi did descend into madness and cannibalism, or maybe the tiger story is true, but either way he now lives in a world filled with those that doubt him.

 

7-Yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman

 

They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out—like a leper. See, their “morals”, their “code”… it’s a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. – The Dark Knight

 

Image Via Amazon

 

An important early work of American feminist literature, due to its illustration of the attitudes towards mental and physical health of women in the 19th century.

Narrated in the first person, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a woman going through postpartum depression whose physician husband (John) decides to treat her by not treating her. He forces her to live inside a boarded up room where she is told to simply eat well and get plenty of air.

The only stimulus in this room, the only thing she can be interested in, is the room’s yellow wallpaper.

From there, her mind slowly unravels. She starts believing there are things behind or inside the wallpaper and, as she grows into madness, she starts chasing the wallpaper and creeping like a spider beside the wallpaper. Her life becomes this wallpaper.

This treatment was common during the early 19th century and, since the book was published in 1892, it shows a woman’s steady descent into madness thanks to society’s indifferent ignorance.

 

6-Catcher in the Rye by Holden Caulfield

 

The Catcher in the Rye by [Salinger, J.D.]

Image Via Amazon

 

The mob has plans. The cops have plans. Gordon’s got plans. Y’know they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. – The Dark Knight

 

In case you haven’t read this book, Holden Caulfield is an outsider living on the brink of society. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, a drifter, but he rightly criticizes and critiques adults for their superficiality. ‘Phony’ is what Caulfield calls them, as he dreams to be a child again when times were simpler.

After spending a novel-length amount of time floating through the town, going largely unnoticed except when he’s mugged by a pimp, he ends up in an asylum. Yes, he pledges to get his life on track, but can we really believe him?

 

 

5-High-Rise by J B Ballard

 

When the chips are down, these…these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. – The Dark Knight

 

High-Rise: A Novel by [Ballard, J. G.]

Image Via Amazon

 

Following his divorce and the death of his sister, Dr. Robert Laing moves into the twenty-fifth floor of an apartment complex. From there, he’s continually bombarded with negative events, including a costume party he’s invited to where everyone mocks and degrades him. Eventually, he goes over the edge, not to spoil the plot, but it ends with cannibalism as the once-peaceful residents of the apartment complex descend into madness.

The similarities to the film should be obvious. Laing and Arthur Fleck are both beaten down by society and eventually crack, proving that the worst monsters don’t have sharp teeth and bear-like claws, but a human face and simple words and judgmental glares.

 

4-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

 

This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. – The Dark Knight

 

Crime and Punishment by [Dostoyevsky, Fyodor]

Image Via Amazon

 

Rodion Raskolnikov is a law student who dreams of enforcing the law, but those morals go out the window because of poverty. Society has cast him out, and poverty forces this ex-student to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money.

After the murder, Raskolnikov is morally racked by his deed, tormented with confusion, paranoia, and disgust, forcing him deeper into poverty.

Poverty pushes him to kill, and once he’s killed his misery drives him deeper into poverty. This vicious cycle is one society forces on him, and with each passing moment he falls deeper and deeper into madness.

 

3-Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

 

Why so serious? – The Dark Knight

 

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Image Via Amazon

 

For some reason, there is a man who lives with an older man who has a ‘vulture’ eye. Why does he have a vulture eye? Does the vulture eye represent something? Is the man his father, his landlord, his master? Is the narrator a servant?

The exact circumstances are left unclear, but the narrator’s decent into madness isn’t.

After a carefully calculated murder, a ‘perfect crime,’ the narrator dismembers and disposes the body under the floorboards. Then the police came and they talk to the man about this unidentified old man. During the conversation, the narrator hears a a beating heart and grows concerned, then realizes that the police are openly mocking him, ignoring the heartbeat and watching him suffer.

The twist? It’s subtle, you might miss it, but the heartbeat the narrator hears isn’t the old man’s, but his own. Talk about madness.

 

2-Rats in the Walls by Lovecraft

 

It’s a funny world we live in. – The Dark Knight

 

Image result for The Rats in the Walls amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

After Delapore, an American, moves into an English estate, he and his cat start hearing the sounds of rats scurrying behind the walls. Finding himself in a society that doesn’t accept him because he’s a ‘foreigner,’ Delapore tries to find the truth about the rats behind the wall, but his psyche starts to unravel.

After a series of dreams, Delapore learns that his family maintained an underground city for centuries, where they raised generations of ‘human cattle’—some regressed to a quadrupedal state—to supply their taste for human flesh. Is this true, or is he simply mad?

Well, after, Delapore attacks and cannibalizes one of his few friends, he is locked in a mental asylum. This ends his reign of madness but he continues losing his mind, proclaiming that it was “the rats, the rats in the walls,” that ate the man.

The society that rejected him continues to do so given that the investigators of the case tear down the estate, covering it up and excluding one of their own officers after he goes insane as well. It truly is a funny world.

 

 

1-American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

 

American Psycho

Image Via EdwardSexton.com

 

Does it depress you, commissioner? To know just how alone you really are? – The Dark Knight

 

A stockbroker in midtown Manhattan, Patrick Bateman lives in a world where people don’t talk to each other, don’t listen to each other, and don’t really know each other. People know him, but they don’t know the “real” him. He exists as a part of the crowd. He’s not rejected by society because that means they’d have to notice him.

This world of superficiality gets to him, and he turns full killer, or does he?

It’s the main question of the novel that no one, not even the author, can answer. At the end of the novel, he goes to the apartment where he’s killed numerous people to find it perfectly clean. Is this because he’s been hallucinating all these murders, or was the apartment cleaned because the owners doesn’t want a negative reputation to affect its resale value?

He killed a man, but then he’s told the man is on vacation. What’s happening here?

The answer is we don’t know because we don’t know the real Patrick Bateman, and we don’t know the real Bateman because he doesn’t know himself. It’s not a look into insanity, it’s us drowning in a world brought to us by a man who is utterly alone.

In this novel, we live and breath madness, and that’s about as close as the Joker’s world as we’re going to get…

 

…until the film comes out. Will you see it opening day, or will you be too busy cleaning up a murder scene that might not even exist?

 

 

Featured Image Via USA Today

J.D. Salinger’s Novels Will Finally be Released as E-Books

It comes as no surprise to book lovers that author J.D. Salinger would be adverse to publishing his novels electronically. His personal beliefs come out in his novels. If you even mentioned the idea of reading a book on a computer to Holden Caulfield, he would have had a conniption.

Salinger stayed away from the press as his literary fame grew, but was very open about his dislike of books changing during the digital age. However, this week, his son, Matt Salinger announced that his four published novel would in fact be available for the first time in e-book form.

 

books written by JD Salinger

Image via Penguin Books

 

After Salinger died in 2010, his son has been overseeing the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust and making every decision with his legendary father in mind. Despite his father’s aversion to advancing technology, he said “There were few things my father loved more than the full tactile experience of reading a printed book, but he may have loved his readers more — and not just the ‘ideal private reader’ he wrote about, but all his readers.”

 

 

Especially when thinking of readers with disability, Matt Salinger knew he was making the right decision. Starting Tuesday, Salinger’s long-time publisher, Little, Brown and Company, will release all of Salinger’s books electronically. Now even more people can be exposed to Salinger’s iconic works: The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction  and Franny and Zooey.

 

JD Salinger

Image via The Irish Times

 

Salinger’s son also hinted at his father’s unpublished manuscripts that he hopes to publish in the future. Be on the lookout, literary fans, Salinger’s posthumous releases may just give us the next great literary character (so we can finally all stop quoting Holden for once).

 

 

Featured Image via Variety 

Empire Records

9 Amazing Songs Inspired by Literature

Books can change the way you think about things; the right strand of words can strike something up inside of you. It’s not unlikely to feel uneasy, dizzy, overwhelmed, inspired, or full after reading the right essay, poem, story, or novel. (Words are, like, insanely cool.)

 

So, it’s no wonder so many musicians have drawn inspiration from within the pages of the books they read!

 

Stand up and jam out to these nine incredibly songs inspired by pieces of literature! 

 

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

 

 

An eighteen-year-old Kate Bush wrote this insanely popular classic after finding inspiration within Emily Brontë’s novel of the same name.

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home. I’m so cold
Let me in-a-your window
 

 

Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure 

 

 

Although not their first foray into slipping literary references into their songs, The Cure held nothing back when they wrote this song based on the Penelope Farmer novel of the same name.

Charlotte sometimes crying for herself
Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself
But it’s always with love
With so much love it looks like
Everything else
Of Charlotte sometimes
So far away
Glass sealed and pretty
Charlotte sometimes

 

Suffragette City by David Bowie

 

 

Bowie never ceased to draw inspiration from his favorite literary works (Diamond Dogs was influenced heavily by George Orwell’s 1984) and for a large part of his Ziggy Stardust phase he drew from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange

Hey man, Henry, don’t be unkind, go away
Hey man, I can’t take you this time, no way
Hey man, droogie don’t crash here
There’s only room for one and here she comes
Here she comes

 

 

Off to the Races by Lana Del Rey

 

 

Lana Del Rey has drawn inspiration for much of her work from Nabokov’s Lolita, but the chorus of this song is especially Lolita-esque.

Light of my life, fire in my loins
Be a good baby, do what I want
Light of my life, fire in my loins
Gimme them gold coins
Gimme them coins

 

 

This Is Just A Modern Rock Song by Belle & Sebastian

 

 

Belle & Sebastian have always been big promoters of book love (i.e. Wrapped Up In Books), see if you can catch all the literary references hidden in this gem!

I’m not as sad as Doestoevsky
I’m not as clever as Mark Twain
I’ll only buy a book for the way it looks
And then I stick it on the shelf again

 

Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan

 

 

Dylan has based much of his works off of F. Scott Fitzgerald and various poets, along with basing much of the lyricism on his Blood on the Tracks albums off of popular short stories by Anton Chekhov.

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside

 

Baobabs by Regina Spektor

 

 

This sweet little single by Regina Spektor (and one of my personal favorites) was based off the popular children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

You have tamed me
Now you must take me
How am I supposed to be?
I don’t have my thorns now

And I feel them sprouting
They’ll grow right through if I don’t watch it
They’ll grow through even if I watch it
And a sunset couldn’t save me now

 

 

Catcher in the Rye by The Dandy Warhols

 

 

Listening to The Dandy Warhols is always a good time, and this 2016 song about the infamous J.D. Salinger novel of the same name is no exception!

Stop look around keep your head down and let the words stop it pass on by you
Words that are somewhere in told are cold if it’s not fun then it’s funny to show
With the advice like this what else could you want if a body need a body I know

 

 

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

 

 

Joni Mitchell wrote this heartbreaking classic while reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson and the Rain King.

Moons and Junes and ferries wheels 
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real 
I’ve looked at love that way

 

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

Featured Image via Bustle

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5 Literary Relics People Spent WAY Too Much Money On

As we’ve covered before, some literary memorabilia sell for thousands and thousands of dollars. In one insane instance, a Hogwarts Acceptance letter from the first Harry Potter film sold for $40,000. The Harry Potter franchise isn’t the first to sell items from the films for insane amounts of cash. Everything from wallets to toilets to ashes of beloved stars have sold for immense amounts of money. Here are a list of some of the most obscure literary relics sold at auction. 

 

 

1. Charles Dickens’s Toothpick

 

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Image Via The Telegraph 

 

Engraved with his initials and used on his last visit to America, Charles Dickens’s toothpick sold at action in 2009 for $9,150. The tiny object was put up for auction by heirs of the Barnes and Noble family.

 

2. Harper Lee Taj Mahal Letter

 

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Image Via Nate D. Sanders

 

Harper Lee wrote a letter to her friend Doris Leapard in August of 1990 with content spanning all sorts of topics from social revolution to novels she was enjoying. At the end of the letter, Lee even apologized for the quality of her typewriter. Her lyrical style seen in To Kill A Mockingbird was used to trash Donald Trump and his Taj Mahal-inspired casino in New Jersey. The letter sold for $3,926 at an auction in New York in 2016. 

 

3. Sylvia Plath’s Wallet

 

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Image Via Bonhams

 

A wallet put up for auction included Sylvia Plath’s ID cards including her Boston Public Library, her Poetry Society of America membership card, driver’s license, social security card, and a small photo of Plath with her mother. The wallet sold for $11,669 March 21, 2018. Along with the wallet, some of Plath’s other belongings were also sold including her fishing rod, articles of clothing, and her drawings. 

 

4. J.D. Salinger’s Toilet

 

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Image Via Writers Write 

 

The beloved Catcher in the Rye author’s toilet was sold on Ebay with a letter from the present homeowner, confirming that the toilet was formerly owned by the reclusive author. The item came “uncleaned and in its original condition”, as stated in the ad. The toilet sold for $1,000,000, not including cleaning fees. 

 

5. X-Ray of Ernest Hemingway’s Foot

 

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via Bonhams

 

The injuries shown in the x-rays Ernest Hemingway would later be detailed in his novel, A Farewell to ArmsThe x-ray remains in its original hospital file folder with labels identifying it as his. The lot included the x-ray of his foot, ankle, and knee where a bullet can clearly be seen. The auction ended on December 7, 2016 with the x-rays selling for $15,000

 

Featured Image Via William Pitt.