The Curious World of Drugs and Their Friends: A Very Trippy Miscellany

The Curious World of Drugs and their Friends does not endorse its subject matter, per se. Some of the more frightening consequences of drug use revealed in its pages include the guy who allegedly gouged his own eyes out under the influence of PCP and the drug dealer who went on a 13-day trip after swallowing his entire LSD stash during a drug raid. Nevertheless, this compendium justifies a place for intoxicants in literary, philosophical, political, and pop culture through the ages. Those who received a career boost from drugs include Ken Kesey, Andy Warhol (who combated weight gain and fatigue with the equivalent of Adderall), and Sigmund Freud, who recommended cocaine as a therapeutic treatment for morphine and alcohol addiction -- the use of all three undoubtedly influenced both the spectrum of his dream life as well as his sense of its importance. Rock stars, of course, inhabit a place of honor, from David Bowie (whose cocaine use, according to a Berlin transvestite, caused him to give off a particularly foul odor) to Amy Winehouse to the seemingly immortal Keith Richards (whose admission that he once tried to snort his father?s ashes mixed in with a line of cocaine is as inscrutable -- and hilarious -- as ever). Those looking for alternatives to drug use might investigate fasting, running and hyperventilating; or, much less advisably, trepanation (the act of drilling a hole in one?s head). This slim volume is quite useful as a guide to the state of altered states -- though what use one makes of it is, of course, entirely voluntary.

July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).