Love and Other Near-Death Experiences

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Sitting here looking at an advanced copy of Quarter Life Crisis, I started thinking about how much my reading preferences have changed over the years (and, as a result, my writing preferences). Because I’m the type of guy who sits around thinking about shit like that.

Sidetrack: check out the book:

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Cool, huh? Yeah. I wrote that. [shrugs] No biggie.

Anyways, when I was a kid, thrillers and horrors were king. Stephen King, to be exact (corny pun, I know, but about as corny as the two King-related tattoos on my left arm: one of his quote “Fiction is the truth inside the lie” and the other the bar code for my favorite book of his, The Stand. It’s just a mild obsession…) Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, etc. They were my savior from those boring moments that pop up in each day, and I cherished them for that. Still do, actually.

But some time around 2008 I started realizing that people typically responded to the humor in my writing, which was also around the time that I realized I loved reading about humorous characters saying and doing humorous things, even in the horror and thriller novels I’d frequented up to that point.

So I went on a comedy spree, which is initially where the inspiration came for writing QLC in the style that I did. But looking back now I notice another trend in my reading habits at the time: almost all of the authors I read while preparing to write QLC were British.

Never set foot in England a day in my life, yet I found myself suddenly obsessed with British comedy authors. Nick Hornby, Jonathan Coe, Mark Haddon, Max Barry (I know he’s Australian dammit, but he speaks English and he doesn’t live in America and I’m trying to make a point), Steven Hall, and the subject of this post, Mil Millington.

I came across Millington and his third novel Love and Other Near-Death Experiences while sitting around my apartment (seems to be a trend with me) scouring through Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” links, searching for that Hornby-esque style that I’d grown so fond of. When I sat down to read Millington’s novel though, I was initially skeptical (as I am of all new authors, as most people are of all things new, pretty much my main obstacle in promoting Quarter Life Crisis, one of those annoying traits of humanity you can’t do anything about because you know you do the same shit too).

Love and Other Near-Death Experiences ended up being one of the most influential books I read that year though, cementing in my mind a very simple fact: British people are way better at humor than Americans are. They’re better at a lot of things, actually, but that’s definitely the one that tops my personal list. I think it’s part of their genetics, like they come out of the womb crying sarcastically.

Anyways, the book is about a guy named Rob who has his own little quarter life crisis one day when a random store purchase keeps him out of a pub he intended to enter, a pub that is subsequently destroyed by an explosion. Knowing that he was meant to be there, Rob starts to question the meaning of life and love and the choices he’s made so far and will make in the future and all that, which all adds up to a hilarious story that made me wish I’d written it (as all good stories do).

Check it out when you get a chance. And, once again,  PREORDER QUARTER LIFE CRISIS AND GET IT ON AUGUST 5TH!

That is all.

-PAJr.

 

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