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

1. Bird Cloud: A Memoir, by Annie Proulx.
Remember when Brokeback Mountain didn’t win Best Picture and Annie Proulx complained about it? I can’t figure out if that was weak/sour-grapes-style move or “Did I mention I have the biggest brass cojones in this room”/awesome-style move. One one hand, I know I never complain when I write 64-page short stories that get adapted into well-received films that get nominated for Oscars they don’t win. But, on the other hand, I think my cojones are made of damp sawdust.

2. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, by Kevin D. Williamson.
My goal for 2011 is to practice compassion in my daily life and try to understand the political perspectives of other people, especially those with whom I do not agree. That’s why I’m reading this book on the way to Jinx Proof to get a Sarah Palin belly tattoo. (“Sarah Palin belly tattoo = a tattoo of Sarah Palin on my belly, not a tattoo of Sarah Palin’s belly.)

3. The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life, by Jesse Bering.
Remember a few years ago when the entire lamestream media was like “Vaccines cause autism” and then a few years went by and the entire lamestream media was like “Vaccines don’t cause autism after all” and then about a year after that the entire lamestream media was like “Why do all these f*cking idiots believe that vaccines cause autism?” I’m drinking out of a bendy straw today because I’ve got whiplash.

4. Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep? A Science-Fictional Theory of Representation, by Seo-Young Chu.
Any other nominees for best title ever?

5. The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, by Jerome Charyn.
What if, in an alternate universe, Emily Dickinson was a hottie known for her skills in the boudoir? Sure, sounds like a good topic for a postmodern novel. But I’d rather explore another topic: What if, in an alternate universe, Emily Dickinson didn’t employ so many weird f*cking emdashes in her poetry? Would said poems meanings totally change? Would commas suffice in a pinch? I mean, check this out: “They shut me up in Prose –/As when a little Girl/They put me in the Closet –/Because they liked me “still.” WTF? I mean —- it’s a —- Chicago Manual of Style —- nightmare —- up in here.