<cartoonist and author of They Call Me Mad Dog!: A Story for Bitter, Lonely People (Simon & Schuster, 1998)>
Well, I really don't like time markers like birthdays or days of the week. I hate New Year's, so this millennium thing is just a major annoyance, like when everyone in high school was all aflutter about what the prom theme song should be.
So, the next century? I'd choose books about the last turn of the century. The inhumanity, oppression, and cruelty of that time has a cotton-packed effect because it was long ago, but still close enough to feel horrifyingly possible to repeat. A hundred years back, life was wild and hard and as visceral as plunging your hand into warm intestines. Windowless sod houses stood where 5,000-square-foot futuristic "Jetson" houses now crowd each other, with sport utility vehicles in the driveways. These are absurd times.
But I will be taking these books with me onto the beach of the next century. I want to finish a book I started ten years ago, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present (HarperCollins, 1995); a fascinating book I just started called Swindler, Spy, Rebel: The Confidence Woman in Nineteenth Century America (University of Missouri Press, 1995), by Kathleen De Grave; and possibly the book Lavengro (Dover, 1991), by George Borrow, which is an account of gypsy life in nineteenth-century England..