Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bibliophile: foot-to-ball, and other balls.

butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high
take a look, it's in a book, it's Bibliophile!

That's either my best opening, or my absolute worst. At any rate, let's get started.
It's a mixed bag today--there's 5000 new entries in the library system, but it seems most are streamed videos my department doesn't have access to. Boo, hiss.

So, skipping across 4000 some items, we have this:

Architecture for a free subjectivity : Deleuze and Guattari at the horizon of the real / Simone Brott. Farnham, Surrey ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate, c2011.
It seems like it's been a long time since there's been a Deleuze and Guattari sighting. I've missed their assemblages, their rhizomes, their bodies without organs. As the title suggests, it concerns their views on subjectivity, and applies it to architecture, to how architecture creates its own subjectivity.

Future minds : how the digital age is changing our minds, why this matters, and what we can do about it / Richard Watson. London ; Boston : Nicholas Brealey Pub., 2010.
Watson argues that our digital technology has taken its toll on our creativity. And not in an abstract way--the physiological effect of digital media use, he claims, affects child brain development. He recommends a deliberate decrease in the use of digital tech. It's very much in the vein of Turkle's "Alone Together"--it may have a good point, but it's very tempting to dismiss it as digital alarmist hysteria. I guess the problem with most solutions to the "electronic problem" is that they all seem like a step back; people generally don't like giving up their gadgets unless they've got something even newer to replace them with.

Find a job through social networking : use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and more to advance your career / Diane Crompton And Ellen Sautter. 2nd ed. Indianapolis, IN : JIST Works, c2011.
It kind of annoys me that this book exists. The others aren't so bad, but using Twitter (and to a lesser extent, Facebook) to advance one's career just seems so.... sigh. I guess I'm just a fuddy duddy luddite.

Testicles : balls in cooking and culture / Blandine Vié ; translated from the French by Giles MacDonogh. Devon : Prospect Books, 2011.
It's a balance between recipes I'd never eat, and investigations into some of the cultural implications of testicles throughout the century. It's an investigation of virility and deliciousness. Or I assume.

Knowledge economy and the city : spaces of knowledge / Ali Madanipour. London ; New York : Routledge, 2011.
The book's argument seems to be that just as the shift towards large scale economy created the new spaces of the twentieth century (city and such), the knowledge economy stands poised to create some new spaces of its own. I think, if anything, that this may be a book that's coming a little late; the digital knowledge-based shifts he's referring to started a while ago. After all, Tiziana Terranova's been publishing on the subject of the digital economy for over a decade now. Perhaps he's saying that we can now better judge its effect on space. That's fair: our mobile tech in particular is adjusting the way we see the world around us.

Global football league : transnational networks, social movements and sport in the new media age / Peter Millward. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
I've got a fondness for football/soccer. I've always believed, in my heart of hearts, that it's the one popular sport that I might not, had things been different, been absolutely terrible at. Alas, the only options for a young male in my particular corner of rural Saskatchewan were hockey, baseball, and, later, basketball. The basketball net and I don't see eye to eye--literally, which is the biggest part of the problem. And I can't throw a baseball properly (I don't throw like a girl; I throw like someone without arms). And on skates, I stop by crashing into things. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, the book's about how the globalization of soccer affects the local British fan's understanding of the game. That's cool.

Deleuze and world politics : alter-globalizations and nomad science / Peter Lenco. London ; New York : Routledge, 2011.
Double Deleuze! This book is specifically on applying Deleuze's notions of power to the anti-globalization movement. The focus of the movement on economic injustice and the rich exerting undue influence and unaccounted for effects on the underdeveloped countries is admittedly a topic that lends itself to Deleuze's brand of analysis. Now available on Amazon for a mere $114! Yeah, that's a book that you get from the library.

Faculty incivility : the rise of the academic bully culture and what to do about it / Darla J. Twale, Barbara M. De Luca.
It's about time someone put that officemate of mine in his place. He's always eating in the office, leaving boxes on the floor, staying there at all hours. Oh wait, that's me. Seriously, I can see how this can be a problem. As scholars, we're supposed to be above such issues as petty incivility. In reality, we're just people, and more than most to be riddled with the insecurities that may lead to bullying behavior. I can't quite get over the sense that a book on the subject is a little ridiculous, which might suggest how ingrained the issue is. (Or it might mean that the book is a little ridiculous.) Either way, I think it's time you gave me your lunch money.

Language and learning in the digital age / James Paul Gee and Elisabeth R. Hayes. London ; New York : Routledge, 2011.
I don't think I've ever actually read a book by James Paul Gee. He's one of the go-to guys when it comes to videogames and education, but... well, it's a subject I don't have much interest in, to be honest. I'm really more interested in what videogames are doing now than what they may or may not do in the future. I realize it's a rather short-sighted view; perhaps this book is the one to cure me of that.

Bound by love : familial bonding in film and television since 1950 / edited by Laura Mattoon D'Amore. Newcastle : Cambridge Scholars, 2011.
I do love those pop culture anthologies. And this subject is more relevant than most. For decades, the TV/movie family has served as a barometer of what the American family "should" be: from "Father knows best" to the problem easily solvable in 22 minutes, with a voice-over drawing everything together so we know exactly how to feel about it (I'm looking at you, Modern Family). This book includes masculinity and missing mothers in Everwood, Supernatural and "I'll take our family over normal", and love and marriage in cold war educational films (which are awesome).

Graphic subjects : critical essays on autobiography and graphic novels / edited by Michael A. Chaney. Madison : The University of Wisconsin Press, c2011.
Another pop-culture anthology, albeit one with a very different focus. This topic is fairly popular; I actually know a few people who specialize in autobiographic graphic novels. Books here include Art Spiegelman’s Maus, David Beauchard’s Epileptic, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese. I've read all of these, except Beauchard's Epileptic. I'd like to see the argument for autobiography in Moore's Watchmen. My snarky side is fairly sure that Moore has never been a customed super hero, but I'm sure there's more than that.

Sleep hotel / Amy Newlove Schroeder. Oberlin, Ohio : Oberlin College Press, c2010.
Given my literature origins, I try to include a fiction piece in each entry. The problem is, fiction titles are usually catchy, but aren't very descriptive of the book's content, at least, not in the way a scholarly book is. So it means diving in blind, in most cases. And in this case: the book I picked is actually a book of poems. So I've dived in blind, and I'm now completely at sea. It seems well-reviewed, which is in its favor, and it contains the line "I love you the way the ground loves the flame." The overall "theme" of the book, as suggested the title, is that these poems are like dreams. That's... workable? I really don't know how to deal with 21st century poetry.

This is not the end of the book / Jean-Claude Carrière & Umberto Eco ; a conversation curated by Jean-Phillippe de Tonnac ; translated from the French by Polly McLean. London : Harvill Secker, 2011.
Umberto Eco is another one of those theorists that I feel I should have read more of, but it never really happened. According to the National Post review, Eco quickly makes his main point: books are here to stay, internet or not. Either they'll stay in their current form, or they'll be recreated digitally in some form that preserves their basic essence. I'd say that's open for debate, but according to the reviewer, the real meat of the book is the people discussing their book collections--40 000 owned by Carriere, and 50 000 by Eco. Sheesh. The review, in case you're interested, is here. I admit, the idea of people who love books and really know what they're talking about sounds like a winner to me. (Although, while I'm confessing, I was a little surprised to find that Umberto Eco was still alive. I'm used to my non-digital theorist people being post-mortem. He looks pretty healthy for 80 years old, so good for him.)

Books are good. That seems like an appropriate note to end an edition of Bibliophile.

Later Days.

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