For a man who claims not to be very keen on blog memes, Andrew Wheeler tends to pass a lot of them through his own fiefdom. Anyway, other cool and interesting people are doing it, and it’s been bloody ages since I did anything more here than links and FPB, so:
What ten books do you own that you think no one else on your friends list does?
I don’t have a flist (because I don’t LJ, yo), so let’s assume that if you read VCTB, you’re my friend.
- Virtual and Other Realities by Edwin Morgan – poetry collection from the Scots Poet Laureate. (If I stuck with poetry titles I could probably run off ten obscure books easily, but I feel it would be cheating.)
- He Died With A Falafel In His Hand by John Birmingham – a sort of gonzo collection of horrible shared-housing tales from Australia, most of which are just unbelievable enough to be true
- Emanuelle by Emanuelle Arsan – The novel a million bad soft-porn films were named after. Oh, you may sneer, but there’s some very interesting philosophical diversions about personal freedom amongst the raunch. Plus it seems you can’t find a copy on Amazon UK, so pretty obscure AMIRITE?
- The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy – day-jobs can really rub off on you, can’t they?
- The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche – yeah, you never saw that one coming.
- Raj: the Making and Unmaking of British India by Lawrence James – does what it says on the tin.
- The View Over Atlantis by John Michell – one of the jewels of my ‘crank collection’; seriously wacky but very compelling. You’ll never think of ley-lines the same way again…
- Altered State by Matthew Collin – a counter-cultural social history of the rise and commercialisation of rave culture in the UK.
- Media Virus! by Douglas Rushkoff – arguably the book that codified the notion of viral marketing and accidentally tipped off big brand business to the tools of the trade.
- Food Of The Gods by Terence McKenna – the thesis here is that, essentially, hallucinogenic mushrooms gave rise to the first matriarchal human societies, and our departure from that culture is due to the different sorts of recreational substances that are considered acceptable in our societies. Bill Hicks used to riff on this idea, though I have no idea if he read this book, and McKenna has a lot of big ideas and heavy research to add to the mix, including a hippie-style interpretation of the singularity that happens to intersect with the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. Drugs, ancient races, cultural shifts… this one has everything, and is well worth a read even if you totally disagree with everything it contains.
That should do it. Though knowing how pride comes before a fall, I expect some of you will chip in and admit to owning at least half of these. But hey, it’s just a meme, and I had half an hour’s fun roaming my bookshelves. So if you feel the urge, pick it up and pass it on.
[ 1 – Can we assume that? Please? Go on… I promise to walk away when your other friends turn up. And I’ll give you my lunch money. ]