Eclectic is a nice way of describing my book collection. Lining my over-sized bookshelf are copies of books from my childhood, vegan cookbooks (no, I'm not vegan but I was for 6 months in college), ancient arithmetic textbooks that belonged to my grandmother, romance novels (shocker right?) and an assortment of novels about a pimp named Iceberg Slim.
I've collected Iceberg's books over the last few years, because of a documentary I watched called "Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp."
The documentary featuring rappers like Snoop Dog and Ice T brought my attention to the unique, smart and fatally flawed man, who decided to write about life on the streets because no one else was doing it right.
Each of Slim's novels takes the reader on a seedy, sometimes dangerous journey that helps them better understand the art of surviving on the streets and running a not-so-legal business. They also paint a portrait of 1970s Chicago that I've only seen mirrored in HBO's show "The Deuce."
Over the year's Slim's novels have sold more than 6 million copies and he's become known as one of the more popular black voices of the 1970s. I know why, too. His books are raw. They make you flinch and think about the "what ifs in life." His writing explains how a simple man with no money becomes a pimp. How a women with no support can quickly become a street walker and how a child with no parents can resort to selling drugs so that his brothers and sisters can eat.
Before buy one of Slim's books, I recommend you watch the documentary I mentioned earlier. If you like it, then start out with his best-selling book "Pimp" that came out in 1971 and then you can read some of his other works like "Trick Baby" or "Death Wish."
These books definitely aren't for everyone, but they do give an unfiltered look at how Slim sees the streets and the people that call them home.