As interest in literature among humans continues to wane, other primates such as apes and monkeys remain as attached as ever to their literary classics. A recent survey asked nonhuman primates to name their all-time favorite books. Here are the top five choices, in order of popularity.
The story of the warrior ape Agilles, who, in his rage over habitat loss, challenges the entire human species to a wrestling match and wins. To celebrate his victory, Agilles ties up all humanity into a single giant clump of bodies and drags it through the tropical forests of west-central Africa.
When the baboon King Babba meets with human corporate leaders to talk about overdevelopment and the ongoing destruction of animal habitat, the CEOs mock his concerns by whooping like monkeys and scratching their underarms. King Baba, offended and disappointed, gets up from the conference table and flings moist feces at them.
A genetic mutation in orangutans causes them to harangue people around the clock about the loss of habitat that is driving many animal species to the edge of extinction. At once prophetic and elegiac, “The Harangutan” is required reading in the swamps and forests of lowland Borneo and Sumatra, and wherever else orangutans live.
Tender is the Chimp
Under duress from severe habitat loss, an alpha male chimpanzee strays from his mildly happy bond with a wealthy but unstable female chimp and begins an affair in Saint-Tropez with a much younger, sexually receptive female. All three chimps suffer mental breakdowns, brought on partly by unvented anger toward humans, partly by an addiction to coconut liqueurs, and partly by living in the French Riviera among decadent people, where chimps do not belong and cannot survive.
Oedipus Wrecks Everything
The tragic story of a tree-dwelling monkey, Oedipus, who murders his father and marries his mother and then posts awkward photos of the wedding reception on social media — all as a way of showing the insane effects of habitat loss on him and other primates. After reflecting on his crimes, Oedipus gouges out his eyes and goes on to destroy the entire biosphere.