I read Ask The Dust by John Fante because it's Ryan Holiday's favorite novel. The book was published in 1939 and is about Arturo Bandini, a young writer in the 1930's trying to survive in Los Angeles.
I still haven't decided if I loved this book or not. Although I don't finish books that I don't want to read, so that's saying something. Fante's writing caught me immediately, it was different than what I'm used to reading and sort of had me captivated as I quickly read each paragraph to find out what happened next.
Bandini is completely self obsessed, almost ironically crazy. His insights into the other characters in the book are often humorous. I read the book wondering what Fante might have been saying about mental illness. He was able to write about a delusional, neurotic man rather beautifully. I read somewhere that the Bandini character is John Fante's alter-ego.
I've been trying to read older novels - novels that have stood the test of time or are liked by the good writers of today. This one is still relevant today and also an interesting peek into LA in the 30's.
Literacy is a prerequisite for freedom. Read deeply. Read what matters. Build a reading list. Don't take literacy for granted.