Stuff that you SHOULD read at some point in your life...


On The Road - Jack Kerouac

This is essential reading as not it's only the first 'road book' ever written but it also features the legendary Neal Cassady (who crops up later with Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters).

It is written as fiction but is actually a true story with various real life characters from the Beat era (with pseudonyms) such as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs to name but a few.

The cool thing about this book is its prose style, it was actually written on a continuous roll of paper with virtually no proper punctuation and it chatters along like a train in Kerouac's own inimitable style.

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Woolfe

Possibly the best book ever written in respect of documenting the rise of LSD and the emerging psychedelic culture in the United States. Again, written in fantastic drugged up prose style to rival that of Kerouac it picks up chronologically more or less where 'On The Road' finishes and tells the tale of how a little known substance called LSD and a bunch of freaks turned on the entire United States...the rest as they say, is history.

If you only ever read one book in your life, let it be this one...

The Teachings Of Don Juan - Carlos Castaneda

Enter the terrifying world of the Yaqui Indians of Mexico and the authors initiation into their shamanic culture based around massively powerful psychedelic plants such as Datura, Peyote and Mescalin.

Unhook your mind from what you have learnt up to now in your life and prepare to be taken to places you never thought possible.

There are seven more books in this series, each taking you deeper into the initiation of Castaneda...

2001 A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke

A disturbing and thought provoking Sci-Fi book like no other that introduces an evolutionary theory just as plausible as Darwin's, only MUCH more cosmic. If you have seen the film and made no sense of it, then this is the instruction manual. If you have not seen the film, read this book then go hire the videotape and prepare to be enlightened.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson

A breakneck speed tale of a journalist sent out to Vegas to report on a desert race with his giant Samoan lawyer in tow.
Laugh until you cry at the tales of absolute drug soaked debauchery and extreme violence as the two characters drive across America in a severely punished hire car popping pills and chewing peyote as they go.

Dancers At The End Of Time - Michael Moorcock

Beyond the limits Science-Fantasy by the Master of the genre Michael Moorcock. Enter the world at the end of time and meet the seriously hung up individuals who hang out there as they lazily 'play' at being God with each other, concocting ever more complex games with their unlimited power in order to impress each other and while away the days....

Food Of The Gods - Terrence McKenna

Seriously heavy duty ramblings from the psychedelic alchemist himself about the powers of psychedelic plants and the links with shamanic powers. This is hard going but worth the slog in the end.

Lord Of The Rings - J.R.R Tolkien

The first and best Fantasy book ever written, period?
Possibly so we would say, let yourself go and get carried into a minutely complex world of characters as you join an epic struggle of Good vs. Evil on a biblical scale. This is the place from where all roads branch off, this is the source of Sword and Sorcery, Dungeons and Dragons and Dark over Light.

It's big, but like us, you won't put it down till it's finished (three volumes!!!)

The Silmarillion - J.R.R Tolkien

“Come and have a go if you think your hard enough!!”
So you 'walked' The Hobbit and 'breezed' Lord Of The Rings huh? This book redefines the word complex as it takes the reader back to a time before Lord Of The Rings and hammers out 'The Beginning' by introducing generations of characters, hereditary trees and arcane languages that are the foundations of Lord Of The Rings and other 'later' books.

Cautionary Verses - Hilaire Belloc

Want to know what influenced Syd Barrett when he wrote Piper At The Gates Of Dawn?...look no further than here (and of course Kenneth Graham’s Wind In The Willows). If you have a beady eye you will see what Syd twisted into Matilda Mother, you will also find a book chocked full of fantastic and sometimes dark poetry...



One River by Wade Davis (Submitted by a Pooterland visitor)

Ostensibly it's a biography of two ethnobotanists in the Amazon Basin, but that's like saying On The Road is about driving in a car.

One of the two, Schultes, was the world's foremost expert on organic hallucinogens and it's clear he also has a connoseiurs (sp?) taste for coca as well.

Fantastic reading and you will finish it knowing more about the rubber plant than you ever cared to.