Top-Five Reads of 2012: #4 Mark Haskell Smith's HEART OF DANKNESS

It’s true: I studied writing under this man; however, this isn’t simply lip service to the guy that helped out my own writing exponentially. It wouldn’t be on this list if I didn’t feel like it should be there. This book more than earns its place in my top five.

I'll admit, too, that I'm a fan of Smith's novels. What that says about me and my sense of humor, well, I'll let you be the judge... But the biggest thing a reader might wonder about this book is how an author that primarily writes fiction would do in the non-fiction realm. For Smith, he's made the transition phenomenally well.

This book has his trademark, no-holds-barred sense of humor, which most likely will offend the general populous in some form or another. Meanwhile, he not only presents us with some wonderful and colorful folk, but he also provides a ton of current information on the Cannibus Cup, the legalization movement, and even manages to slip in some philosophical ideas on what it means to be "Dank."

The best part is simply how “human” he paints this culture and subculture. Too many in the general populous think of drugs and still have that back-alley, shady/skeevy dealer that comes to mind. Or maybe they simply imagine Hollywoodized drug lords. But Smith manages to bring this down to the realistic level that many never see, how those people that choose to be in this industry believe in what they’re doing, so much so that it moves into passion, if not obsession, for providing a quality product and producing something truly amazing. Most of these folks aren’t out to nab that quick buck or live that “high” life (pun intended) which so many films paint; they grow because they love their work, and can we really begrudge someone for following a passion?

Seriously, I can't recommend this book enough. And, no, it's definitely not just for "stoners." It's a thoughtful and insightful book that's written for the intelligent reader that has a sense of humor and wants to know a bit more about Cannibus culture. Sure, stoners will like it, too, but to mistake this book as one for pot heads is doing yourself a disservice.