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Ryan Holiday (Founder/Brass Check)I found John Fante through Neil Strauss, who considers Ask the Dustone of his favorite books. I read it in one day, LOVED it and subsequently read everything by Fante I could get my hands on. In 2011, I read seven Fante novels, one biography by his son and a book of letters between John and H.L Mencken. I utterly immersed myself in his world, from spending hours in Downtown LA where the books are based to reading everything I could find by his contemporaries. I even found out one of his novels is set in the random Northern California town I grew up in and that Fante lived just down the road from where I lived. NO fiction writer made a bigger impact on me this year and there were no book I enjoyed reading more (or read faster) than Fante’s books. My favorites, in order, are: Ask the Dust, Dreams from Bunker Hill, The Brotherhood of the Grape, Full of Life, Wait Until Spring, Bandini, The Road to Los Angeles, 1933 Was a Bad Year. Once you read those, you will almost certainly enjoy Fante/Mencken, and Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving.
He came along, kicking the snow. Here was a disgusted man. His name was Svevo Bandini, and he lived three blocks down that street. He was cold and there were holes in his shoes. That morning he had patched the holes on the inside with pieces of cardboard from a macaroni box. The macaroni in that box was not paid for. He had thought of that as he placed the cardboard inside his shoes.