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In which the author briefly discusses five new books he’d read, if time permitted.

1. We Did Porn, by Zak Smith. A curious artiste with a pouty, smoldering look, Zak Smith grew up in Washington, achieved fame as a Yale Fine Art MFA/Whitney Biennalee who drew spooky pictures of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, moved to L.A. to make porn, then produced a hi-art/low-art picture book/memoir about it. Still not interested?

2. The Black Monk and the Dog Problem: Two Plays, by David Rabe. Read any good plays lately? Enjoy turning the pages of Hamlet or The Crucible more than you like the bourgeois, expensive experience that is live theater? Then read these two plays by the guy that wrote Hurlyburly, which is a very good movie, and I assume a good play, but I’ve only seen the movie.

3. Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability, by David Owen. New Yorker contributor David Owen turns the environmental movement on its head in this contrarian attack on the fake green-ness of rural living. Up yours, Thoreau!

4. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Fairy tales are scary. Russian fairy tales are scarier. Russian authors named Ludmilla who write bleak novels that young Washington City Paper bloggers-to-be read in sophomore Russian Lit are scariest. This picture of the author speaks for itself.

5. The Sibley Guide to Trees, by David Allen Sibley. It’s unlikely that I’d read a tree guide, but I like the idea of wanting to read it, just like I enjoy the prospect of fly-fishing while watching A River Runs Through It or the possibility of becoming Mormon while reading Twilight.