Friday, May 28, 2010

The Kitchen Readings

I know I have been abent from the blogosophere for quite some time now and I will get around to getting back to the other blogs in the circle as soon as finals are over.

surprsingly though, in the mist of my craze of stress and homework I always found time to read. mainly because it was my "get away" and it kept me sane. but also mainly because the book I happened to be reading was amazing. you guys have heard me post blogs "still reading..." it took me like 9 months to read that book about Howard Hughes (which i loved! but still couldnt just sit down and read it.) but this book was different.

this book is called 'The Kitchen Readings' its written by Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis. Never heard of them? don't worry you shouldn't know them, they aren't writers and although Cleverly is an artist, they aren't famous. They were two of the best friends of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and this book is full of stories about the great HST.

its in a completely different light though. its not all about his gonzo, firearms, illegal actions, drug snorting, alcohol using lifestyle. its in there, but in a completely admirable way somehow. you're reading these stories and the underlying "facts" come out that this guy is an asshole, this guy is crazy. But the way they write about him, and the way they describe who he truly is -- you find it all funny, charming, endearing, its really quite amazing.

I'm writing this blog, because I just finished the book (it took me 2 weeks to finish this book, in the heat of finals, stress, weird sleep patterns, I finished the book. They cleverly organized the stories somewhat choronically and with purpose. the last two chapters are about hunters death, which i was completely unaware of.

I knew HST had died, but through this book I learned how recently and the moment I started crying was when I read that Hunter took his own life. the book goes back and forth between stories from Cleverly and Braudis and the very last 2 chapters talk about the last time they were with Hunter when he was alive. Braudis was with Hunter the very night before and both of them recalled Hunter being in a great mood, having fun, what they referred to as "vintage" Hunter the last time they saw him.

Hunter had a spinal replacement surgery and that took a huge toll on him and what really started all his medical pain and "problems" he went through a horrble detox when he was in the hospital from alcohol and his drugs and the physical therapy rehab after he was released was just as painful as not doing anything. Braudis recalls nights when they would sit in front of the fire and Hunter would tell him about the stresses of his life - i guess an insight of why he ended up doing what he did. I think ultimately though it was the pain (physical medical pain)

the one thing I have to say though is that as much of a Hunter fan as I have always been ever since I read "Rum Diary" I always took Hunter for someone I would want to read about, and even maybe watch in a movie, but never someone I would want to meet, I always took him for this total junkie, asshole, out of control nut (which to some credit he is) but these "untold stories" provide a completely different side to him, in that he is someone I would completely want to meet and be friends with and I would want to sit in his kitchen with him and be part of that circle (Hunters kitchen was the "headquarters" and was where they all hung out and just sat around and discussed politics and everything else)

and so when I read about his death and how his friends felt. I was actually bawling, so much I couldnt see the words on the page. I had fallen in love with this man through these stories.

Michael Cleverly had two read great passages I just had to write down and now I want to share them

"perhaps when we age and our senses become less acute, our vision and hearing dim. its so that when we finally leave this world, we won't miss it so much."

and my favorite

"people are still reading Hunter, as they have been for decades. I dont know if his books have ever gone out of print. One reason people read him is because he was very funny. he was very funny because he was very smart and because he was honest. Hunter was a 68 year old man who spoke to young people. he was a boozer and a druggie who spoke to people who never embraced booze or drugs themselves and he was a liberal who spoke to people whose political learnings were far away from his own. we all recognized that there was something in Hunter hat we could only hope to see in ourselves; an utter lack of hypocrisy. when Hunter was being brutally honest with those around him it could sometimes be unpleasant but he was just as honest about himself. he didnt sugarcoat it."

the part i bolded was the part that I felt like jumping up and saying "that's me! that's me!" I always fear that people who dont understand what it is like to read Hunter will judge me when they know hes a druggie and a boozer thinking that I commesorate with him or have something in common with him. because I dont have a single thing in common with him other than our share for politics and stories.

needless to say. I highly recommend this book. I feel like in some ways some of the stories have actually maybe changed my life. which could launch me into a whole nother' blog and this one is long enough.


  1. I'm excited to read it Kylee. Then we can talk about it together. I have Shark Attack and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail if you want to read those. He talks to Nixon in the Fear and Loathing book.

    Remember when you called me from Hawaii about reading Rum diary which i had loaned you and there was this part in there you want to talk about and i told you to highlight it inside the book and you were incredulous that i would have you actually mark up MY BOOK. and i said, yeah and write your name in the margin so i know it was you.

    Because you know how i am about my books. But i actually like the idea of having people highlight their favorite parts in my books and signing their name. i think i'll tell people do that from now on.

    I'm anxious to read it because i've not really gotten around to reading since Matterhorn, which was an amazing novel about Vietnam and i still think about that book.

  2. yeah mom gave me the two HST you had and she goes "i gave her the book you had for her, what was it called" "the kitchen readings" "oh no, thats not what i gave her" and me knowing that i didnt have any other books in my bag i said "are you sure? was it a white book with a guy on the cover smoking a cigar?" "no..." haha but im sure it was.

    you can see it will be a fast read its only like 270 pages compared to these monsters you gave me these must be the fattest books of HST he has written!

    haha i dont remeber that but that seems to be the right reaction, i should do that, instead what i do is write down my favorite quotes in this notebook i have -- i have a whole notebook filled with quotes from movies, commercials, anytime i hear quote i like i save it in my phone and transfer it to my notebook. i have a whole page just on HST.

    this was really one of the most amazing books i've ever read and in a small way it kinda changed my life. you'll love the chapter of Luisl if anything is going to change your outlook and what you think of HST its going to be that story.

  3. i am already loving this book the Kitchen Readings and expect i will be done before the long weekend is over. i'll write more later as i get in to it.

  4. Kylee, i already finished the book! It's very good and now Brian wants to read it. I wrote down this part you quoted:

    "perhaps when we age and our senses become less acute, our vision and hearing dim. its so that when we finally leave this world, we won't miss it so much."

    I loved the book and it makes me want to rewatch Johnny Depp in "Fear and Loathing". I tried to find his Vanity Fair article about the woman who was wrongly incarcerated in Denver but couldn't.

    What a character he was! I wouldn't want to be his neighbor, but i would have liked to have been welcome in his kitchen.

  5. isnt it an awesome book!! i told you you would finish it no time i loved when me and brian were sitting in the kitchen and i could hear you laughing at loud while reading the book

    and i LOVE that quote, i even loved the part right after about "he was a boozer and a druggie who spoke to people who never embraced booze or drugs themselves"

    does vanity fair archive their articles online? i would think any HST would be famous and easy to find.

    i definitley wouldnt want to be a neighboor with those 3 am phone calls but i too would want to be welcome in the kitchen and in his inner circle at the J bar -- it always cracked me up he would order a beer, a glass of water and a chavais - what is chavais? some kind of rum or whiskey?

  6. Chevas Regal is a premium, if somewhat common, Scotch.

    Amazing what can spring from the mind of the dissolute. I expect that he wouldn't have been nearly as creative without the stimulants.

  7. Today there were little kids swimming in the pool during adult hour. I always hate when some mom lets her kids break the rules because even though i was not over there i will be there sometime and when i tell them they need to leave i will be the bad guy because they won't understand about the beloved pool adult hours.

    Anyway you might wonder, what do pool rules have to do with HST? Well i had just finished reading the book and was feeling "Hunter-y" so i told Brian when i could see the kids over there swimming during our precious adult hours i wish i had a shotgun so i shoot it off from my patio, Hunter Style to scare them off. (And while i'm at it i would love to shoot out the tires of the hotrod red Chevy truck that wakes me up with his loud engine and he runs it a long time before taking off.

    Also i would shoot it off everytime i heard some kid shout out Marco....Polo....!

    I'm turning into one of those old people who yell at people playing on their lawn. LOL. Only i don't have a lawn.

    of course, i am joking, but i do love the Hunter firearms stories. It is indeed amazing he didn't kill anyone accidentally.

  8. OMG, this is so funny.As if on cue, that damn red pickup just started up his engine. I HATE this guy so much. ESPECIALLY when he was going to work at 5:30 in the morning. Nobody needs a truck to sound this loud. I'm wondering if it is even street legal.

  9. Oops...that's Chivas Regal.

    We're Scotch snobs in Scotland help.

  10. see I knew it had to be a brown liqour if it Hunters choice its all I could picture him with - could you imagine him drinking vodka? it just doesnt make sense haha

    there was this part in the book, jo you will remember, where he had taped a lecture he had give at a college and his friend walks in and hes rewinding the same part over and over and friend is like "what are you doing?" and hunter says "this right here, this is the part where the alcohol takes over the coke and i begin to slur - you cant understand a word im saying!" he used to be drunk and take a hit of coke before every lecture and 2 minutes into the speech he slurs - so after this discovery he decides that 2 minutes into every lecture he needs to go backstage snort it up and come back out - instead of just being sober lol

    and jo - i totally support you being the bitchy old woman with firearms hahaha