Sex, Drugs and Bookglue: The Six Best Doper Books of All Time

By j.a. kazimer

You know you want it. Just one taste. Just a little hit to tide you over…

But remember the first six are free, but the rest of the list, is gonna cost ya.

Candy by Luke Davies

The language and desperation in this book is what makes it a go-to reading fix. It follows the downward spiral of two junkies in love, if that’s what one would call it. The book is gritty and beyond real. It is what crime fiction should be. Oddly enough, it was also one of the last films Heath Ledger ever made. Coincidence…? I think so.

Plainclothes Naked by Jerry Stahl

Jerry Stahl is an amazing writer. I’ve loved him since picking up his memoir, Permanent Midnight, which comes in at number 8 on my top ten doper list. His best book though has to be Plainclothes Naked. This book follows the ‘life’ of a painkiller addicted detective in his quest to keep a murderous stripper from jail after she poisons her lover’s Lucy Charms.

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

This is the only non-fiction/memoir on my list. Why, you might ask, if you’re paying attention. If not, well, I will tell you anyway. Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame is one of those souls that you can’t help but love. His honesty in the face of his disease is commendable and often sad. If you’re looking for a true tale of how someone loses control, even in the face of fame and fortune, this book is it. And you thought you had a fucked up childhood….

Junky by William Burroughs

Junky is only number 4? Are you kidding me? This book raised a generation. Yeah well, it’s a damn hard book to read. So there. William Burroughs is a legend. The book is an institution. Read it. And then come back and give me shit.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Most people remember the film version of this book. How could you not? What I love about this book is the cycle of kicking, relapsing, using and the honeymoon before the crash. The characters are ones you want to win, but in your heart, you know they won’t. There will not be a happy ending for most. Like most junkies there will just be an end.

Digging the Vein – Tony O’Neill

Thinly veiled fiction from a former musician turned addict. “Before the wedding we stopped at the storefront needle exchange on Cahuenga between Hollywood and Sunset. I wore a suit that had a few bloodstains on it and Susan wore a crumpled white dress.” Enough said.

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2 Replies to “Sex, Drugs and Bookglue: The Six Best Doper Books of All Time”

  1. Great list, j.a. I’d forgotten I’ve always wanted to try JUNKY again. Couldn’t get through it a couple of decades ago. Bet I will now.

  2. I have a copy of “Junky” inscribed by Bill to me personally congratulating me on a book I put out 25 years ago. He was an interesting guy.

    Don’t forget: “The Man With the Golden Arm,” Nelson Algren; “Quartet in H,” Evan Hunter; “The Golden Spike,” Hal Ellson; “Monkey On My Back,” Wenzell Brown; and “Hooked” (AKA “Viper”), Raymond Thorpe. Also: “Marihuana,” William Irish (Cornell Woolrich); “Marihuana Girl,” N. R, DeMexico; “The Marijuana Mob,” James Hadley Chase; at least for their titles, if not quality. I’ve got all mentioned in my collection, plus dozens more. A lot of fun.