Book Review by Better than Food: 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade

the Marquis de Sade

Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis de Sade in 1760, age 19.

This is another video review of one of de Sade‘s works that I ran across while researching the author. Since today is de Sade’s birthday, and I have already posted a review of one of de Sade’s two most infamous works, I thought I would post a review of his other most infamous work.

The review is by Clifford Sergeant, who does excellent reviews of modern and classic works of literature on his Better than Food Youtube channel. I have seen several of his videos and I think they are terrific. However, reading and reviewing 120 Days of Sodom seems to have shaken him somewhat in this video.

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week, for some unknown reason, I had a burning curiosity about de Sade’s life. I watched a few YouTube videos on it, and, suffice it to say, my curiosity for his works has been sated, but I would love to learn more about de Sade’s life. He seems to be a fascinating character, though severely flawed to say the least.

From what I can gather about 120 Days of Sodom, de Sade wrote it while in prison (I believe in the Bastille). He wrote it to keep himself entertained and never intended to have it published. However, after he escaped prison, the manuscript was found in his cell and by some strange strokes of luck, was eventually published.

I hope you enjoy the video. It is a fascinating glimpse into one of literature’s most infamous works.

Better than Food Book Review: Black Spring by Henry Miller

Corpus Christi,, 2005

If I haven’t said this before, I love Cliff Sargeant’s book reviews. He discusses them as if you were just sitting with him in his house having coffee or in a bar having a beer, and not in any boring, monotonous scholarly way either. His reviews seem to come straight from the heart out of a genuine love for literature. He seems to connect on some spiritual level with many of the books he reviews. He is excited about them. I haven’t been able to find him on Goodreads yet. I’m sure, that, if he is on Goodreads, his list must be immense. Check out his channel at Better than Food.

I watched this one about half an hour ago. I read Tropic of Cancer several years ago. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Miller was living the kind of life I wanted to live at the time, drunk, rambunctious, full of sex and smoke-filled rooms. I have always felt that, though I felt I should live in a more intellectual fashion, in the sense of looking out from the ivory tower and down upon the world, I am more cut out for the Henry Miller lifestyle, which is a hell of a ride, but came close to being my undoing once or twice. I miss those times. I never enjoyed being absolutely schnockered, but I did love living the night life with a nearly consistent buzz and a pack of small, Nicaraguan cigars in my pocket and my eye on every woman that entered the bar. But those days are long gone and I am now living a quiet, temperate life deep in the Arkansas woods. I still love the spirit of Tropic of Cancer though.

Video: Review of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Better than Food

I have recently started watching Clifford Sargent’s book review channel “Better than Food”. These are terrific reviews. I watch these and I love the way Mr. Sargent seems to not review these clinically as a English professor might, but he seems to take them to heart. His genuine love for the literary art form is obvious. His reviews are insightful with a stream-of-consciousness delivery that draws the viewer into the world of whatever he is reviewing. Throughout a review, he may inject little bio notes about the author and/o many other factors that led to the development of the work. These reviews may be practiced, but it is obvious that he is not reading from a script and he doesn’t seem to be struggling to recall anything he memorized. He talks to you as if you were a fellow classmate as you discuss a work you both read for class or you read in a book club and now you two relax in his home or in a park or in his yard or on a staircase while you have coffee together.  Most of the books he reviews are contemporary novels like Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas by Fernando Flores, though sometimes he dives into the past and reviews a classic like Goethe’s Faust or a modern classics like Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

His review tonight was of Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. I have heard of this story for many years and I have been intending to read it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. After watching this review, I know I will have to read this ASAP.  Apparently, I have been missing out on a great classic for years.

Be forewarned, this review does contain spoilers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.