in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.

1. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, by Jeff Guinn
Probably less creepy than reading your mother’s yellowed, dog-eared copy of Helter Skelter, as I did in the late 1980s.

2. The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature, by Richard H. Smith
You know, like in A Separate Peace when Gene pushes Phineas off of the tree limb. Hold on, checking original text… all right, he didn’t “push” him off the tree limb, but, as per Page 52, “jounced” him off of it. Still sucked for Phineas, though.

3. Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, by Boris Kachka
I once courted a young lady who worked at this publishing house and got a few free books out of said courtship. However, I did not treat the young lady very well, and the free books stopped, as they should have.

4. Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives, by Paul R. Gregory
Just another book about the horrors of the 20th century.

5. George Orwell: A Life in Letters, by George Orwell, edited by Peter Davison
Why is Orwell always on the merch table? Anarchist crust punks from the Haight to Oakland rushing out with their filthy dogs to steal this tome from the Barnes & Noble closest to their speed dealer.