Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)
by Hunter S. Thompson
I vividly remember my introduction to Hunter Thompson's masterpiece in its original serial form in the pages of Rolling Stone. I was absurdly young (maybe 15?) and in no way prepared for the angry, hallucinatory, and searingly funny prose that seemed to leap off the page and burn its way into my skull. Thompson's savagely descriptive sentences deeply affected my own, leading to a lifelong love for hyperbole. And as a young man just coming of age as it became clear there would be no revolution, no peace in Vietnam, and four more years of Richard Nixon, I responded to Thompson's rage. But it was the sentiment underlying Thompson's story—the heartbreak and disappointment that would peek through between images like that of his dead grandmother crawling up his leg with a knife in her teeth—that affected me most. I became determined not just to write like Thompson but to live like Thompson, too. Probably not the ideal role model for a 15-year-old. But there it is.
Anthony Bourdain's latest book is Medium Raw.