Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses

January 29, 2008 | 9 books mentioned 6

A friend who has long since gotten out of the literary scholarship racket was once, briefly, quite intent on writing a dissertation entitled “Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses.” I have a vague recollection that the argument was to involve something about how pirates seem often to lose hands, legs, and eyes, and that along with their inanimate prosthetics (wooden legs, hooks, eye patches – if, indeed, eye patches count), they also have animate ones like parrots and monkeys. I am not quite sure where this argument was going. There was, however, an excellent plan to, at the defense of this unwritten dissertation, have a parrot, on the shoulder of the writer, declaim the defense.

Though this dissertation (sadly) remains unwritten, it did generate a list of parrot books. Everyone’s favorite genre! Behold:

is a staff writer for The Millions living in Virginia. She is a winner of the Virginia Quarterly's Young Reviewers Contest and has a doctorate from Stanford. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Times, In Character, VQR, Arts & Letters Daily, and The Daily Dish.


  1. (tapping her pipe and adjusting her patched blazer)

    I'm with Levi… "a very promising project indeed…" says the prof.

    Oh, this is great! A needed morning laugh for me. Brava.

  2. I'm a reporter on assignment for NPR looking into the power of AMazon reviewers. I saw your article in Slate. Might we chat, please, please, please??? E-mail me at [email protected]. Cheers, Martha Woodroof

  3. Joe Coomer's novel The Loop is in part about trying to find the owner of a lost parrot. It may not be in print now, but a movie is in pre-production awaiting the end of the writer's strike for the next draft of the script.

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