Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some More Reading List

So, time for me to share something, once again.  This time, it was in response to a request from Roy Christopher, who explained that every year he asks various scholars and intellectuals to provide their "summer reading list" for a post that he puts up on his site.  So, Roy says he'd like to include me, if I'd be willing to write something up.

So, of course, this sort of thing is somewhat artificial, in that I can't list all of the books I would want to read, that would be much too long for the sort of thing he was looking for (and he did point me to last year's entry), but I did come up with what I believe to be a reasonable contribution for him.  It's since been posted on his site under the heading of Summer Reading List, 2012, along with entries from friends like Douglas Rushkoff, and Howard Rheingold, and a number of others.

If you want to read them all, by all means click on Summer Reading List, 2012 and check them out.  And if you look for my entry, it's a little more than 2/3 of the way down.  But not to worry, at least I rank first here on Blog Time Passing, and that's all that really matters to me, because after all, Blog Time Passing readers are the best readers in the whole damn world—give yourselves a great big hand, why don't you?

So anyway, here's what I had to say about some more reading, listed, for the summer:

I’m looking forward to reading Howard Rheingold’s latest book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (MIT Press, 2012). Howard’s books combine accessibility with media ecological insight, and in this book, Howard brings a practical, media literacy oriented approach to the great concern of finding balance among the services and disservices of new media.

I’ve been hearing really good things about Terrence Deacon’s recent work, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (W. W. Norton, 2011), as it relates contemporary thinking in systems theory (e.g., complexity, autopoiesis) to the question of consciousness, so I just recently added it to my list.

As a media ecology scholar, Elena Lamberti’s new contribution to McLuhan Studies, Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic: Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies (University of Toronto Press, 2012), is a must read, and her discussion of McLuhan’s relationship to Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis speaks very much to the question of methodology in our field. Christine M. Tracy’s The Newsphere (Peter Lang, 2012), which follows up on some of Neil Postman’s insights about news in the television age, is also on my list.

Speaking of Postman, I will be giving Amusing Ourselves to Death (Penguin, 1985) a close rereading for a new book project I’m working on, and along with it I’ll be rereading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1932) and Brave New World Revisited (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1952), and his later novel, Ape and Essence (Dee, 1948), another dystopian vision set in the aftermath of global warfare and destruction.

One book I’ve been meaning to get around to reading is The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath by Joe Lieberman and David Klinghoffer (Howard, 2011).  I’m not sure if our 24/7/365.25 culture is quite ready to reverse its accelerated pace or retrieve the concept of the day of rest, but the Technology Shabbat movement is a response to our overheated media environment, and I’m interested in the topic as a media ecological practice, as well as a spiritual one.

Speaking of spirituality, the new book by Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz, Judaism’s Great Debates: Timeless Controversies from Abraham to Herzl (Jewish Publication Society, 2012) is an absolute must for anyone interested in moral theology or a dialogical approach to religious experience, and it is near the top of my stack of books.

Also in my summer plans are The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (Anchor, 1997), The Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1981), as well as an odd little item I picked up in Brier Rose Books in Teaneck, NJ (one of the few remaining used bookstores in the area), Poem Outlines by Sidney Lanier (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908), and another volume I purchased there, Thomas Stanley’s translation of the ancient Greek lyric poet, Anacreon (Merrill & Baker, 1899). And I am anxious to read the next trade paperback collection of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Vol. 16:  A Larger World (Image Comics, 2012).
And there you have it, that's "my summer reading list" post for you, for what it's worth. If there are books you think should also be on my list, or books that are on your list that you want me know are on your list, by all means, let me know, that's what the comments section is for.

And I do hope that you keep Blog Time Passing on your summer reading list as well!

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