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

1. Anglo-Spanish Rivalry in Colonial Southeast America, 1650-1725, by Timothy Paul Grady.
I was having dinner (or was it lunch?) the other day with a friend. We had sushi (unless, maybe, we had Mexican). After lunch, we went for dessert (cupcakes? Or was it frogurt?) and then to a movie (Twilight? Or maybe Inception?) Then, on the way home, I was like, “Hey, you never told me what your Ph.D. dissertation is about…” and my friend was like, “Oh, it’s about the colonial encounter…” and I was like “Wait—-your field is anthro, right?” and my friend was like “Nah, it’s Latin American studies…” and I was like, “Cool.” And on we drove through the streets of Washington, D.C., two well-fed, well-entertained members of the landed gentry living our bourgeois lives with nary a thought for the oppressed aboriginals upon whose blood, sweat, tears, and general abasement our society’s so-called “liberties” had been constructed. We were listening to the new Lady Gaga single too, that catchy one called “Rape of Mother Earth.”

2. Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, by Pamela Meyer.
I could have used this book at the Bellagio last week when some greeze ball bluffed me out of a $500 pot. How did he know that I, a short, bald, waifishly thin emoish 30-something, wouldn’t have the guts to call a blatant overbet by a loose-aggressive player when I was holding a mere two pair when there’s a flush on the board? He ran me off that hand holding a measly king high! I’ve never been more humiliated in my entire life—-well, except for the time I got caught trying to remove a splinter from George Michael’s left buttock in that public restroom in the middle of London. I’d never even considered that a splinter could so deeply penetrate the fleshy part of a pop icon’s backside.

3. The Concise Dictionary of Dress, by Judith Clark and Adam Phillips. Edited by Robert Violette. Photography by Norbert Schoerner.
You are what you wear, et cetera, et cetera…

4. Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, by Justin Spring.
Gender theorists and gay historians take note: Sure, I’m into reading about gay rights before Stonewall, but if there’s a bunch of pictures of mustachioed dudes with old-school tattoos of bluebirds and anchors and “HOLD FAST” on their knuckles, I’m way more likely to pick up a homopositive tome.

5. When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, by Rowan Ricardo Phillips.
Did I ever tell you about the time I was the only short white dude with a lot of opinions about politically correct speech in an otherwise mostly-minority-female African-American poetry class at my hippie liberal arts college? No? Oh, right—-that was expunged from my permanent record.