Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bibliophile: Roommate Dynamics and Telepathic Marsupials

All right, I'll level with you--posting is work. The academic blogs, rare as they are, require a big picture view of my career. The book reviews (and indeed, the reviews in general) require some effort towards theme and reading. Even the personal posts require an amount of self-reflection that I'm not really ready for at the moment. (Who's in a rut? Not me. Where are my comic books and skittles?) And so I stick to what's easy. What's simple. And thus, we have Friday Quotations, Sims quotes, and the subject of the most depressing introduction ever,


Here's what's new and interesting at a library near me.

The Role of taste and calories in access-induced excessive sweets consumption by the rat. By Adam Celejewski.
First: Congratulations to Adam for completing a thesis. It's not easy, which means it amply prepares you for the rest of your life from this point on. Second: there are now some rats in Waterloo that require a good rat dentist.

Manure pathogens : manure management, regulations, and water quality protection / [Dwight D. Bowman, editor].
Mentioned only because I read it as Manure Pantheons, and the six year old in me would have been really fascinated by a book dedicated to the gods of poopy.

Lip service : smiles in life, death, trust, lies, work, memory, sex, and politics / Marianne LaFrance.
Credit where credit's due--that's a clever title.

Astonishing general : the life and legacy of Sir Isaac Brock / by Wesley B. Turner. Toronto : Dundurn Press, 2011.
I don't really know anything about Sir Isaac Brock, but a book called "Astonishingly General" would be great. "Be amazed by our lack of description!" "Marvel at our vague accounts!" "No specifics, no details, just the broad scope you've all been waiting!" And so forth.

Beauty pays : why attractive people are more successful / Daniel S. Hamermesh.
I suspect the answer has to be a little more complicated than "because they're attractive," else it will be a rather short book.

Erotic capital : the power of attraction in the boardroom and the bedroom / Catherine Hakim. New York : Basic Books, c2011.
One assumes that attractive people pay in erotic capital, then.

American idyll : academic antielitism as cultural critique / Catherine Liu. Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, c2011.
The pun's a little subtler than most, which is nice. More to the point, the subject is interesting, if not really my bag; a brief search on the book reveals that its focus is the recent swathe of anti-intellectual, anti-elitist protests in the States, and the failure of both it and the forces it's rebelling against to address the issues that lead to its creation.

Making chastity sexy : the rhetoric of evangelical abstinence campaigns / Christine J. Gardner.
I just saw a Louis C. K. episode on this, and I think it could be a really interesting subject. All right, I saw half an episode. Roommate show-watching is a tricky beast to negotiate. On the one hand, you don't want to commit to asking them to make sure you're informed when they're watching a new episode, as that places demands on both you and them. If you're on the fence for the show, it's a level of devotion that you don't want to meet. And you can't watch the ones you miss by yourself either, because that suggests that you were actually interested in the show all along, but didn't voice any opinion, which raises the question of whether you acted in that manner just to avoid watching them with the roommate. Which means that the only option you're left with if you do like the show is to drift in occasionally and catch what you can. Hence, I saw half of this episode.
...I feel like we've moved off topic somewhat.

John Byrne : art and life.
For a moment, I thought this was John Byrne the comic book writer/artist, but no, it's John Byrne the British artist and playwright.

Ai Weiwei's blog : writings, interviews, and digital rants, 2006-2009 / Ai Weiwei ; edited and translated by Lee Ambrozy.
I like the idea of a book that's just a transcript of an online blog. It's sort of digital archive in reverse. And some Google research reveals that there's a heavy political side as well, as Weiwei was a Chinese artist who blogged until the Chinese government shut the site down and deleted it. (Also, publishers take note: There is precedence, and I am open for negotiating a deal. Experimental Progress goes print!)

Kiss my relics : hermaphroditic fictions of the middle ages / David Rollo.
Heh. Good title.

Politics of insects : David Cronenberg's cinema of confrontation / Scott Wilson
After seeing just a handful of Cronenberg films, I think an in-depth study is very warranted.

Super black : American pop culture and black superheroes. Adilifu Nama.
Another example of a book I think is a great idea, though I doubt I'll ever get a chance to read it. It includes Black Panther, Blade, and Luke Cage, for those curious.

Italo Calvino's architecture of lightness : the utopian imagination in an age of urban crisis / Letizia Modena.
I love the idea of a really thorough analysis of Imaginary Cities, though I understand this is more of a postmodern, urban renewal sort of emphasis.

Hog butchers, beggars, and busboys : poverty, labor, and the making of modern American poetry / John Marsh.
All of the sexiest professions.

Farmer Buckley's exploding trousers : and other odd events on the way to scientific discovery / edited by Stephanie Pain.
Do I really need to explain why "Farmer Buckley's Exploding Trousers" is an attention-grabbing title?

I usually skim over a large chunk of the Q area of the Library of Congress listings, which is the math and computer science section. Honestly, they're incredibly interesting topics, but the titles seem to be in a competition to see who can come up with the driest approach to a subject. And they all make the Sahara look like a sandtrap. ...Okay, that wasn't my a material. Moving on...

Ah, biology. Now there's a group that knows how to lay a title.
Mindreading animals : the debate over what animals know about other minds / Robert W. Lurz.
I assume this book is on the growing danger of the telepathic wombat.

Twitter power 2.0 : how to dominate your market one tweet at a time / Joel Comm.
Considering it's still with only very, very reluctant distaste that I even have a Twitter account, this book would be a novel way to angry up my blood. Twitter. Ugh. (Follow me at PersonofCon! (No exclamation point))

...Okay, that takes at least as long as the regular subjects. I don't know what I was talking about earlier. I suppose it's mildly less intellectual effort, as a bon mot is easier, in many ways, than the careful development of a sustained argument. (Take that, Twitter.)

Later Days.

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