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nebule's avatar

Which chuck palahniuk book would you recommend I read first?

Asked by nebule (16379 points ) December 16th, 2008

Given that i’ve seen Fight Club (loved it!!!) and want to read some of his other work…which book would you recommend first?

This may obviously not be the best either depending on your take…whether you think all of his books are worth reading and if you think that i may want to read something middle ground working my way up to the best???

Or whether you think i should just read your favorite first? Let me know your thoughts x Thanks in advance

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11 Answers

bodyhead's avatar

Survivor all the way. It’s awesome and a quick read. I also liked fight club (the movie). I haven’t read the book yet but I heard it’s a little different from the movie. I plan to read Choke before the movie comes out too.

kevbo's avatar

Rant, Lullaby & Choke are my favorites. Invisible Monsters is also a favorite, but I’d recommend leaving that one off until you get used to his style. If you read Snuff, read it earlier than later. It’s not his best. Actually, maybe read that one now if you’re going to read it at all. It’s just as outrageous and single-minded as Fight Club.

Stranger Than Fiction and Fugitives and Refugees are collections of essays, the former from all parts of the US (mostly the Pac NW) and the latter is strictly vignettes about Portland. Both give you some insight into Chuck the person.

jessturtle23's avatar

Haunted! It is the sickest book ever! Has anyone else read it?

dalepetrie's avatar

I have yet to read much of his work, because though I thought Fight Club (the movie) was groundbreaking and original and he has such a great reputation and traffics in the type of content I’d normally find fascinating, I read his book “Haunted” and was extremely put off. Note that I did not say offeneded or bothered, but put off. I have no problem with the gruesomeness and vileness of some of the imagery, that’s right up my alley, but I felt as though his characters who were performing some very unsalient acts on themselves and each other, simply lacked any motivation (stated or otherwise) for behaving in the manner in which they did. To me it was like a complete exercise in shock value for it’s own sake…OK, I can see how a particular occurrence could be very powerful in the proper context, but it seemed to me that he completely left context out of this book. So I’ve been a bit leery of picking up any of his other novels as this was by far one of the least believable books I’ve ever read and it simply seemed to be massive potential horribly wasted. If one could take his disturbing imagery and actually place it within a contextual framework where one could even begin to create one’s own supposed motivations for said behaviors, it could have been a hell of a read, but instead everything I read I thought, “OK, by WHY?” Why would anyone do that? What is the catalyst? What is the motivation? This makes zero sense. There was no narrative, just a bunch of people outdoing each other with nothing to gain by it. I hope his other books are better, I think I’ll go with kevbo’s recommendations.

jessturtle23's avatar

Well, most of his stuff is pretty sick. Sex addition, stealing from graves. The only thought he provokes over and over is that “Wow, I am not as bad as these people.”

dalepetrie's avatar

@jessturtle23 – I was composing my quip about Haunted whilst you were asking your question. I agree it was pretty sick, which as I said didn’t bother me. But what did you think about it beyond that. Read my quip and tell me if you thought the same thing or if you had a different take on it. I mean, what made those people do the things they did…there seemed to be zero motivation, rationale or reason for any of it. It seemed like he had a deadline or something and he just decided that hey, people expect me to be sick, so I’m just going to throw a bunch of people in a house and have them to sick shit to themselves and each other for a couple hundred pages and never explain it. I almost felt taken, like he was saying, people are only looking to be shocked so I’ll give them a piece of crap that’s all about shock value and they’ll still buy it, kind of like when Dylan put out a bunch of really bad albums on purpose in the 80s. Or maybe the point was there and I missed it. What say you?

jessturtle23's avatar

What I enjoyed about the book was that it was all of these characters that were urban legends. I had heard many of the stories from peoples’ “friends cousins uncle ” that some of the events happened supposedly happened to. I thought the point of the book was to bring the people together and I liked the way he wrote it as a series of short stories. It was like a “where are they now?”. All of his characters in all of his books are shitty people that do sick things but are somehow able to identify with sick thoughts the reader has had. It’s just sick entertainment for people with sick senses of humor. Nothing more. He is not an author I recommend to everyone I know and I hope my parents don’t come looking for a book and grab one of his off the shelf.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Survivor was by far his best book IMO. They were actually going to make that into a movie and then 9/11 happened so that got scrapped. Choke is great as well and while i do agree with kevbo about Snuff not being his best, its still worth a read just for the pool part heh.

Randy's avatar

Choke is by far my personal favorite of his. Rant is a close second but it was really hard for me to get used to the way he wrote that one. I suggest saving it for later. Survivor would be a good one to start with as would lullaby. I started with Fight Club and it was great because it led me into his style fairly easy. I haven’t read snuff yet but I haven’t heard many good things about it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Choke is a great book and is my favorite of his but I wouldn’t recommend reading it first because it is a fair bit to stomach (if you can get past chapter 2, then you can survive the rest of the book). Lullaby was the first one I read and it got me hooked.

nebule's avatar

Its looking like choke or lullaby i think… thanks all xx

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