The best books that remind us that we are all idiots

The Books I Picked & Why

Gulliver's Travels

By Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels

Why this book?

The standard bearer of idiotic journeys. This eighteenth-century funhouse mirror displays the underbelly of the human condition from many absurd angles, including but not limited to xenophobic violence, intellectual hubris, and false idol worship.


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Catch-22

By Joseph Heller

Catch-22

Why this book?

War brings out the dumb in all of us. This book hits home for anyone that’s horrified by the alteration and weaponization of the English language from those holding power. The high-stakes bureaucratic incompetence and illogical war-time decision-making birthed its own special kind of paradox – the Catch-22 – that unfortunately never goes out of fashion.


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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Why this book?

I use the word absurd a lot. Never has its usage been more appropriate than for this book. A [absurd] sendup of science fiction convention filled with [absurd] characters doing [absurd] things all across multiple [absurd] universes that somehow all makes sense in the end, particularly since none of it makes any sense. It’s, you guessed it, ridiculous.


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The Sellout

By Paul Beatty

The Sellout

Why this book?

The Sellout is a satirical treatise on the lengths humans will go to reject, deny, or literally erase, injustice. It skewers any pretense of a post-racial America, telling the story of a small town in California that brings back segregation and slavery. The outlandish uproar that ensues reveals the deep division that persists in America and the discomfort in addressing it. 


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Dear Committee Members

By Julie Schumacher

Dear Committee Members

Why this book?

Intellectuals are dumb. Particularly when they are navigating their own insecurity and ambition. Told through a series of ill-advised and awkwardly personal letters to various scholastic and literary entities, this book shines a comic light on the world of petty, festering academic grievance.


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