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

1. They Live, by Jonathan Lethem, edited by Sean Howe.
In sum: Because I love books by well-regarded novelists about John Carpenter movies starring Rowdy Roddy Piper, I’ma run to the bookstore to buy this sh*t. If the bookstore’s not open, I’ma break the glass doors down. If the glass is unbreakable, I’ma find a rocket launcher like A. Schwarzenegger in Commando and blast the door into a million pieces as Rae Dawn Chong looks on in horror. If I can’t find a rocket launcher, I’ma borrow a Humvee and plow right on through. If the Humvee’s outta gas, I’ma find a hybrid SUV that isn’t out of gas. If I can’t find a hybrid SUV that isn’t out of gas, I’ma locate an expert bookstore-glass-door lockpicker like one of those dudes in the original Oceans Eleven, Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven remake, Ocean’s Twelve, or Ocean’s Thirteen to get me into the bookstore under cover of night. If I can’t find an expert lockpicker, I’ma enroll in lockpicking school and achieve a sufficient level of lockpicking mastery to do the job my damn self. If I can’t find a lockpicking school, I’ma wait until the bookstore opens in the morning. It can’t stay closed forever.

2. Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film, edited by Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly.
Return of the Living Dead is a horror flick featuring a bunch of punks that get devoured by/turned into zombies, a fate only slightly worse than being stranded at a Slapshot show. I saw Return of the Living Dead when I was 10 or 11. It was supposed to be campy, but was terrifying instead. I had nightmares for two weeks. Then my parents found out I’d rented it and put a parental block on my Blockbuster account. In other words, 1988 sucked.

3. Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives, edited by Peter Orner and Annie Holmes.
Insert clever quip about Zimbabwean humanitarian crisis here.

4. After Claude, by Iris Owens.
This is a fancy new illustrated edition of an old novel that’s either French or Gallic in it’s general obscurity and coolness, like Sofia Coppola’s husband.

5. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro.
This book combines prayers from different religious traditions into a posi-blanket knitted entirely from organic good vibes that warms you up when you are feeling blue and are worried that god is dead but can’t quite bring yourself to attend the Unitarian church down the street because the whole Unitarian thing seems so damn wishy-washy since the congregants are unwilling to commit to any one faith for fear of being totally wrong about Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, etc. and instead float upon a sea of fuzzy ambiguity. In the immortal words of Gary Gilmore, Dominus vobiscum.