I am so fascinated by Jimmy Chen’s peeks into the bookshelves and psyches of Giant readers, that I find myself wondering what volumes were lying on the periphery of the pictures submitted for Haut or Not, outside the camera’s some-encompassing portrait. What books do we not want our fellow tea-sipping lit snob confederates to see? I think we should lay it all out on the line, and I’ll start. In the interest of full disclosure, I won’t even stop at one bastard lovechild—I’ll give you three.
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand: The heroes are libertarian caricatures, the underlying philosophy is borderline psychotic and it’s a bazillion pages long. But, damn it, Rand plays me like a fiddle, and after each time I’ve read it (twice, so far), I emerge like the second coming of Ron Paul for about a month, until I remember that I’m not really a fascist asshole.
Any book by Clive Cussler: Sure, some are better (Treasure, Cyclops) than others (any of his latter day sins), but this modern master of pulp has written some of the best devil-may-care banter I have ever read. I wrote to him when I was in Little League, and not only did Cussler write back, but sent me the original postscript page, edits and all, of his book Inca Gold. Dude rules.
Shroud of the Thwacker, by Chris Elliott: I waited in line to get him to sign my copy of this book. Which he did. As Hiram T. Wifflepop III.
What books are you ashamed to love?