How I Became Stupid
By Martin Page (Penguin, 160 pages)
In a situation many of us can relate to, a French, tea-drinking student of dead languages (who, naturally enough, was named "Reader of the Year" at his local library) is bedeviled by his own crushing intelligence, highly fraught moral compass and unceasing sense of introspection. OK, maybe we can't all relate to Antoine, but admit it: Upon seeing the airy ease with which your less-educated countrymen traipse through this world, you've often wished to join them in their blissful ignorance. How I Became Stupid is a quick-moving and hilarious little fiction that chronicles Antoine's attempt to mute the higher voices in his head. Though someone so burdened with learning is a poor candidate for stupidity, Antoine's efforts are admirable and, in their own pathetic way, show how truly stupid he was to start with.