Ten Things I've Got that You Haven't Got

A diploma!

No, just kidding.

This is one of those things you do because everyone else is doing them. What do you call those things? Memes? It’s a list of ten books I’ve read that I think you haven’t. Courtesy of Scott Andrews, Jay Ridler, and other such heroes of the obscure.

  1. Faerie Queene Edmund Spenser – A convoluted allegory for Christian morality in the form of an epic poem written in faux-old English about a bunch of color-coded knights running around doing heroic deeds on behalf of a nice lady riding a palfrey.
  2. The Celestine Prophecy James Redfield – The official Hollywood fad religious cult handbook for the year 1993.
  3. Turtle Moon Alice Hoffman – A disturbing borderline supernatural romance that was pressed upon me for beach reading one summer on the Cape by my mother and grandmother.
  4. Tom Sawyer Abroad Mark Twain – Sequel to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, in which the boys embark on a hot-air balloon ride around the world. Sort of “Mark Twain does Jules Verne”.
  5. Eclogues Virgil – Dirty pastoral poems by the author of the Aeneid.
  6. Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming Roger Zelazny and Robert Sheckley – A silly farce about turning fairtytale tropes on their heads for the purposes of Eeevil.
  7. Decision at Thunder Rift William H. Keith, Jr. – A video game tie-in novel about angry dudes piloting giant robots for revenge! Yes indeed. Forgive me, readers, I have slummed.
  8. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers Henry David Thoreau – Waldenesque, but with a lot less preachy insanity and cost-of-living accounting. Instead he waxes rhapsodic on youth, nature and brotherly love. About a journey taken by Thoreau with his brother John, who died not long after, when both were in their twenties. I was a sucker for Thoreau back in high school (and an idealist); you could probably have found me sitting in the school’s courtyard at 7 AM on a chilly spring morning reading this book and trying not to cry.
  9. Phantom Susan Kay – The life and times of the Phantom of the Opera, including his life in that cage at the gypsy carnival, as designer of torture chambers to the shah of Persia, etc. Brooding gothic fun.
  10. The Defense Vladimir Nabokov – A chess-playing genius goes insane in glorious monochrome. A short book, but unbelievably tortuous in its symbolism. Kafkaesque.


  1. I’ve read “Turtle Moon”, and remember liking it a lot, but that’s all I remember. I also liked “Practical Magic”, not to be confused with the sub-par movie version.

    The Kay books sounds promising, I’ll have to look for it.

    I’ve not read the Celestine Prophesy, but recall the period when everyone seemed to be reading it–or at least, carrying it around.

    1. Turtle Moon was about how everybody in this Southern town went crazy on the first full moon of spring. Crazy to the effect of “I will now sleep with this ugly dude”. I felt strangely compelled by it at the time, but I can’t quite say why now…

      Celestine Prophesy was kind of like Da Vinci Code in its page-turney-ness and oversimplified profundity, except it was New Age profundity rather than Western secret history profundity, and it was a lot more earnest about trying to convert you to its belief system. I think I actually bought into it for a bout a week.

      And Susan Kay is indeed great.

    1. I read Rape of the Lock too…it was the in-class warm-up, with explication by professor, in this satire class I took. Where I also read Swift, Chaucer, Ovid, probably other stuff I can’t recall. But those drunkass intellectual elite sure could get raunchy when they wanted!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *