Nine (more) working titles for ill-advised books I’ve thought of writing recently

Almost a year ago, I jotted down few working titles for some books I’d thought of writing at some time in the future.  Despite the fact that as of May, 2015 I had written a total of zero books, and also despite the fact that my output of books has increased not at all in the past twelve months, I will nevertheless dare to propose a few more possible titles for the consideration of the universe.


But first, I wish to note that I have in fact written one or two fragments that could actually fit into at least a few of my proposed titles of a year ago.  For example, I did a rather minor amount of autobiographical writing, most of it while at least mildly intoxicated, which could later be folded into The Gayest Stork, my proposed honest-to-the-point-of-brutality portrait of myself as a seventeen year old.  Likewise a certain amount of what one might charitably call my journaling could be imagined between the covers of Pickled, a chemical history of my extended family.  Little writing, but much practical research has been conducted for the Sub-Herbia project, my proposed collection of interviews with nontraditional marijuana users and on WordPress: a History.  I regret to being able to announce almost no progress on Consolidated Diversified (my imagined manual for organizational development), Borked (my graphic novel about web security) nor any of my other titles, whose names escape me, along with the tab on my web browser containing them, which must be around here somewhere.

But I digress … on to this year’s titles, all of which I have — with varying degrees of seriousness — contemplated writing in the past twelve months:

Saying no to God, Saying yes to Dog
How to lose your religion while gaining a pet.

Mennonite Rampage
A killer is loose among the Amish

A Bomb in the Pram
Religious radicalization leads to sectarian violence among a group of bored upper-middle-class supermoms in suburban London.

Founding Sisters
In which — armed with no good evidence — I document the secret gay lives of several American Founding Fathers, interspersed with my own present-day quest to obtain membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.

Freedom in the Hundred Decibel Bedroom
A practical guide for those who sleep with heavy snorers.  Contains many tips, sleeping positions, psychological pressure techniques.

Classic Diseases
A book about all of those diseases you used to hear about all the time but JUST DON’T HEAR ABOUT ANY MORE

More than Hoodies: a guide to nerd chic
Geek approaches to clothes: algorithmic wardrobes, randomness and function as form.

If it’s not Too Much Trouble
A manual of Lutheran “etiquette”

My Six Deaths
A natural history of the six times I would have likely died had I been born in the world before modern medicine.  To wit:  an infected wound, complications from Crohn’s Disease, childhood epilepsy (would have lead accusations of demon possession and ritual death), pneumonia, a severe throat and sinus infection and a bicycle accident and subsequent skin infection.

Nine (more) working titles for ill-advised books I’ve thought of writing recently

The Crimes of Joe Orton

The playwright Joe Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell spent six months apiece in Her Majesty’s prisons for defacing library books.  Far from representing crime, these were acts of civil commentary and genius, sadly ahead of their time.


Here’s Orton discussing his acts of creative vandalism in a 1967 interview:

Well, yes I used to do very strange things on library books.  It was really a joke.  I used to take lots of books out of the library — I used to smuggle them out in a satchel, and then I used to paste a picture over the picture of the author …

…  I remember one of them was by Lady Lewisham, a book on ettiequte actually, and um …  it showed a picture of lady Lewisham in her garden.  And I pasted in a picture of a great nude woman cut from a nude book … people must have been very surprised.

Also, I didn’t like libraries anyway.  I though they spent far too much public money on rubbish.  I didn’t like the books, I mean I don’t think people need books on etiquette anyway.

I have no regrets at all, I had a marvelous time in prison.

You can read more about Orton’s life in and out of the theater in John Lahr’s excellent biography.

The Crimes of Joe Orton

Mania: a short reading list

My family is no stranger to mania.  It’s killed or threatened at least one of us in the last three generations, and along with a corresponding (and perhaps causally related) tendency towards addiction of various flavors, it’s ruined and altered lives, both of those it has directly affected, and those who have had to live along side the manics of our strange clan.  Here are a few books related (some tangentially, most directly) to mania and its causes.  Each has helped me understand this disease from a slightly different angle.

Kay Jamison, a psychiatrist, found herself descending into mania and depression.  An Unquiet Mind is her story.
Marbles:  Ellen Furney’s amazing graphic novel about her journey with depression and mania.
While the City Slept, Eli Sanders’ book about the murder of Teresa Butz and the undiagnosed wasted life of her killer, Isaiah Kalebu
Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.30.37 PM
Playing the Manic game — it’s an academic paper, but it’s a must read for anyone who loves someone with mania.



Mania: a short reading list