“I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book,” said Lou Reed to The Rolling Stones, “then you have the Great American Novel.” The Gift, with its hallucinatory rock instrumental in the background, is one of the most horrifying short stories ever written. Lady Godiva’s Operation reads like Sylvia Plath. Venus in Furs led me to Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella by the same title. The Raven pushed me to reread Edgar Allen Poe. If you haven’t already, read Reed.

 

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