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in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies, by Nell Beram and Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky
It took many years of feminist counter-programming for me to abandon my mistaken belief that Yoko Ono was a witch who broke up The Beatles. That doesn’t mean I’m a fan of her solo records, but I’m at least not liking them on their own terms.
2. Life Form, by Amelie Nothomb
French novel about an American soldier serving in Iraq who, traumatized by battle, gets really fat. Yet another weird, potentially awesome Gallic idea, like Situationism, critical theory, and MC Solaar.
3. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini
Mary Todd Lincoln was known for her extravagant taste in clothes, mental illness, and tendency to be portrayed by actresses too old for the part (see Field, Sally).
4. The River Swimmer, by Jim Harrison
Jim Morrison isn’t known for his novels, but for his poetry and, of course, iconic slithering as frontman of The Doors. But just because you’re not a fan of the Lizard King’s verse or the spoken-word LP An American Prayer doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy a few short novellas by the man who may or may not have shown an audience his penis in Miami on March 1, 1969… Wait. This book is by Jim Harrison?
5. Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
The second-billed co-author of this book teaches at an MFA program that I attend and, in my view, is the faculty member least likely to be a cyborg. That’s good. When searching for MFA programs, I’m searching for a high human-to-cyborg ratio or, alternately, a low cyborg-to-human ratio.