Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bibliophile: Wet Works

Books, books everywhere, and not a word worth reading. Or is there? Lead it to Bibliophile to find out.

There's no place like home : the empowering potential of the midwifery model of childbirth. 1991. Squire, Denise C.
The university appears to be slowly digitizing its decades' worth of theses and dissertations. I'm against it, purely because it means more work for me when reading through the titles. Ah, the passions of the true scholar. I mention this title because most are so mundane that a Wizard of Oz reference really brightens the proceedings.

Is conservatism an artifact caused by dissimilarities between the laboratory and the real world? 1992. Kamenetsky, Stuart B.
Essentially, are people less likely to sacrifice other people if they know they're real people and not just numbers? Answer: results cannot be generalized. That's somewhat ironic--that the study investigating how people come to make generalizations ends in a conclusion that can't be generalized.

Bald truth : determining the need for a Canadian alopecia association / by Bonnie Lipton.
I'm imagining the Canadian equivalent of Stan Sitwell here.

Gender differences in perceptions of sexual and nonsexual cues in dating. Alksnis, Christine.
Through analysis of surveys, Alksnis found that men are more likely to associate sexual encounters with a "good" date than women, and that women are more likely to describe a "bad" date as one that includes sexually-charged situations. So in other words, if there's sex involved, men aren't going to have a bad date. Science, everybody.

Empathy and intergroup relations : do people empathize less with outgroup members? / by Gillian Macdonald.
Interesting question. On the one hand, I'd say that in general, we're more likely to empathize with people we know better and identify with, which includes people we're in groups with. On the other hand, I'd say there's a point where you're so familiar with a person's problems that you're too close to see them for what they are--that you get so used to them, their concerns become a sort of background noise. I think it happens with families, especially. The actual study appears to be based on ethnic groups, though, and it found no difference either way.

Never call them "jerks" : an approach to responsible pastoral leadership in the face of difficult behaviour in the congregation. 1997. Boers, Arthur Paul.
Well, that's just good advice.

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie? The Supply of New Recorded Music Since Napster by Joel Wadfogel, 2011.
The typical music industry complaint against file-sharing and so forth is that it damages the industry, whereas respecting copyright encourages creative growth. Wadfogel's findings basically show that there's been no decrease in the quantity of new artists or material coming to market since the proliferation of Napster and after its decline. Without any data at all, I'd argue that digital distribution has been a real boon to emerging artists in general, as it's easier to develop an audience.

Deleuze and Guattari's immanent ethics : theory, subjectivity, and duration / Tamsin Lorraine. Albany : State University of New York Press, c2011.
Finally, finally, we are out of the theses/special papers section, and into the new books proper. And what better way to kick that off with this week's Deleuze and Guattari tribute?

Concept of time / Martin Heidegger ; translated by Ingo Farin. London ; New York : Continuum, c2011.
Speaking of major figures in modern philosophy, we have this translated entry from one of phenomenology's heavy hitters. All I know from Heidegger is what I've derived from my Stiegler readings, but it's more than enough to know that this would be an intense reading.

Yuck! : the nature and moral significance of disgust / Daniel Kelly.
Other books that include "Yuck" in their titles: "What the Yuck?: The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body," a book on the female body; "Yuck!: The Grossest Joke Book Ever!" ("Man: I'd like some toilet paper please. Lady: What colour would you like? Man: Just give me white, I colour it myself!"); and "Oh, yuck!: the encyclopedia of everything nasty." Can Kelly's book live up to this illustrious pedigree?

Religion and democracy : a worldwide comparison / Carsten Anckar.
I like books with a simple, modest scope. It does appear that Anckar is addressing something more specific than the title suggests. He is apparently testing Huntington’s claim that democracy and religion are tightly connected, and that western Christianity is the only religion capable of supporting democratic institutions. Anckar finds quantitatively what I would call the intuitive answer, that local political context matters more than declared religion. It gets more complicated when you factor in that religion is also determined in part by political context, and determines it as well, but in general, it seems like Huntington is confusing causation with correlation.

Terror of history : on the uncertainties of life in Western civilization / Teofilo F. Ruiz. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2011.
Man, if there was ever a title that seemed to encapsulate the "First World problems" meme. What the book actually argues is that Westerners generally have three responses to large-scale disaster and trauma: religion, worldly success and pleasure, and art and knowledge. That's a good thumbnail sketch of the classic Faust story, where the good doctor gives up the first in the name of the last and winds up thoughtlessly going after the middle.

Architecture of doom [videorecording] / POJ Filmproduktion AB ; First Run/CARUS Film production ; a film by Peter Cohen. New York : First Run/ICARUS Films, 1991.
I was hoping this would be about sinister buttresses and evil archways. It is instead a book on Hitler's theories of architecture, which isn't far off, come to think of it.

Stone and dung, oil and spit : Jewish daily life in the time of Jesus / Jodi Magness.
I like the contrast Magness was clearly going for--mixing the typical sense of the sacredness of Jesus with the ordinary and profane.

Job search in academe : how to get the position you deserve / Dawn M. Formo and Cheryl Reed ; foreword by Kristina Mesaros, Carla Maroudas, and Kevin Degnan. 2nd ed. Sterling, Va. : Stylus, c2011.
...I'm listening.

Big thirst : the secret life and turbulent future of water / Charles Fishman. 1st Free Press hardcover ed. New York : Free Press, 2011.
Water management's an issue that's not going away--as the book's description tells us, major American cities are only 90 days away from running out of water at a given time. Fishman's book seems more positive than most environmental-oriented examinations, arguing that we do have enough water and we will have enough, provided we can manage it properly. It's sort of a training resource; it's the closest we have to something that's actually renewable, and if we can properly manage it, then maybe there's hope that we can responsibly use a few other things.

Better angels of our nature : why violence has declined / Steven Pinker.
Catchy title. For those wondering his argument, he backs up his point that we're living in the most nonviolent time in history with pages and pages of graphs and statistics. The main three factors he identifies is the influence from the Enlightenment, that promoting education lowers propensity for violence; the prevalence of the state, in that people have less need to personally defend themselves; and the global spread of commerce, which makes it in everyone's best interest to play nice. I think there's a case to be made against all points--the State has led to some massacres on a far wider scale than any other, the education factor may be construed as intellectual elitism, and the commerce issue ignores just who's making money off of all those guns. But it's hard to argue that we're not as bellicose, as a species, as we once were.

Cold breezes and idiot winds : patriotic correctness and the post-9/11 assault on academe / Valerie Scatamburlo-D'Annibale. Rotterdam : Sense Publishers, c2011.
Somebody sounds a little peeved. Although I'll admit that there does seem to be a bizarre anti-intellectual strain in American discourse.

Book of rotters / Alan Bold & Robert Giddings. Edinburgh : Mainstream Pub., 1985.
Putting "rotter" in the title of your book improves it by 8.67%. Fact.
Later Days.

Future species : Hybrids, Exoskell, Cyborg living, Makeover madness. Toronto : Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, c2009.
I wish I was still teaching a course on digital media. Ah, well. I might check out this book anyway.

Agonizing love : the golden era of romance comics / Michael Barson. New York : Harper Design, 2011.
Another entry for the comic book historian.

Blackout / Connie Willis. 1st ed. New York : Spectra Ballantine Books, c2010.
Time travel romps. There's nothing that can go so bad as a time travel story, but it should be fun.

Close to Spider Man : stories / Ivan E. Coyote. Vancouver : Arsenal Pulp Press, c2000.
Sadly, not an anthology of characters ranging from Aunt May to Flash Thompson.

Virtual water : tackling the threat to our planet's most precious resource / Tony Allan. London ; New York : I.B. Tauris, 2011.
And for a different perspective on the water debate, Tony Allan argues that water is finite, and running out fast. We need to be better appreciate the value of this resource, while we have it. Or so his argument goes.

Inventing Iron Man : the possibility of a human machine / E. Paul Zehr. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.
A book in the "Science of Superheroes" sort of vein.

Later Days.

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