Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What should I read this summer?

It is never too early to begin daydreaming about the end of the semester. This year, for the first time in like a million years, I have not been suckered into any summer teaching. This summer, I am going to publish! No, really!

Of course, the other thing that will happen this summer is the arrival of a second needy dwarf in our home. Still, I think my schedule will be flexible enough that I will be able to get some good reading in. This summer I hope to read a book for its own sake. Reading a book for its own sake is like reading a book for pleasure, only without the "for pleasure" part. Its the sort of reading where one receives what Alsdair MacIntyre called "the goods internal to the practice." Its a sort of reading that I don't get the chance to do much anymore.

The question is: what to read? Here are some candidates:

See full post

E.O. Wilson The Ants (or maybe Journey to the Ants)All last summer caroline and I would play a game where I coaxed an ant to crawl up on a leaf. Ants are cool and I've always wanted more in-depth knowledge of a single organism.

Evan Eisenberg Ecology of Eden We were reading Second Nature by Michael Pollan, a book and author I really like, in a faculty reading group, and someone said that everything Pollan says is said in the first eighth of the Ecology of Eden, which makes me want to read the Ecology of Eden.

e.e. cummings Complete Poems. I have never read eleven hundred pages of poetry straight through before.

Something by Ian Hacking I was reading his recent article in the New York Review of Schnooks and I realized he'd be my favorite living philosopher, if only I'd read a whole book by him. I'm thinking either The Social Construction of What? or Rewriting the Soul

Robert A. Wilson Genes and the Agents of Life Picked this up at the last APA. An interesting and profound topic.

Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker The First Idea. Shankar used to work on Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics. Then he worked with primates on language. Now he was written this. I think he and I have the exact same perspective on this problem. It should be a good read.

Heike Wiese Numbers Language and the Human Mind This is the kind of book I wanted to read more of when I was working on my dissertation. There was less of this then than there is now.

Something by or about Coetzee. Molly gave me a bunch more of this books for x-mas. Also this just came out, which in title at least fits my theme for the summer.

Well, those are my options. I'm also starting to keep lists of what books I have read cover to cover each semester. So far

Summer 2004:
Paul Thompson Spirit in the Soil
Fall 2004: Huxley, Island; Carlson and Berleant, eds. The Aesthetics of Natural Environments; Coetzee Elizabeth Costello (second full read.)
Spring 2005: Lloyd The Case of the Female Orgasm; Liszka Moral Competence.

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