From the category archives:

Sounding Smart

Godel, Escher, and Bach, by Douglas R. Hofstadter

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on August 5, 2009

Godel, Escher, and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas R. Hofstadter Sounding Smart (without being smart) You shouldn’t even pretend to have read this book.

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The Life of Samuel Johnson, by James Boswell

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on July 24, 2009

Again, there is some (admittedly minuscule) chance that whomever you’re trying to impress may have been forced to read at least the Cliff’s Notes of this biography as part of some useless English Lit class…”

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Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on July 9, 2009

Even if someone has read this, it was back in high school, and all they remember is Ahab being mad at a white whale that bit off his leg and that the first mate was named after a chain of gourmet coffee shops. If you need to provide yourself cover, loftily say something such as, “It oft seems that all great works of literature are ultimately based on the allegories of the Talmud.” That should send them scurrying off to the bar.