Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book Meme--Finally

Both Bitch/Lab and the Happy Feminist tagged me to do this Book Meme, so I thought I would finally sit down and answer these questions about books—ah yes, books are the trophies of academia. Just the other day my colleague Kerry said—you can throw away relationships, furniture, houses, clothes—but an academic never throws away books (obviously tongue-in-cheek).

1. One book that changed your life?

Simone de Beauvoir’s the Second Sex. I decided right then and there (October 1990) to be a philosopher. If only I had known that being a philosopher was nowhere near as glamorous as de Beauvoir made it look, nor as committed to social justice. However, the question that the Second Sex asks: what sort of concept is the concept of woman continues to haunt me daily. I had never even thought to think of ‘being a woman’ as ripe for conceptual analysis to begin with. Before that book, my impression of philosophy was asking whether or not the chair I was sitting in was actually there (snore!)

2. One book you have read more than once?

See # 1. While I love to read, and usually have three or more books going at once, I rarely read a book more than once. I guess I fear that there are so many books to read and so little time to read them. But, I reread the Second Sex all the time. I also reread many of Plato’s dialogues. Mostly I read Plato because I am teaching him, but if I am honest, I have to say that I am rereading Plato because I never get bored.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

I am sort of frightened to see the reactions of my loyal readers to my answer to this question, but I would want to have the Bible. It’s not that I would want to get closer to God, nor to be more biblical—if that means, live in accordance with God’s laws (how some fundamentalists interpret the Bible). Rather, I think the Bible is a fascinating text; it encompasses fantastic stories, parables, philosophical and theological dilemmas and paradoxes and some beautiful poetry. You find it all in the Bible: sex, violence, redemption, deceit, love . . .

4. One book that made you laugh?

Ann Coulter's Godless.

5. One book that made you cry?

Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson. I even wrote an article on this book. This book continues to haunt me because of how perceptive its observations of love are, while at the same time challenging my comfortable notions of personal identity.

6. One book you wish had been written?

Why the Pro-Life Movement is an Invention of the Bourgeoisie (maybe I will write that book!)

7. One book you wish had never been written?

St. Thomas Aquinas,' Summa theologioe.

8. One book you are currently reading?

Leaving the Saints, Martha Beck. Za convinced me that it was well worth the read and I have to agree so far.

9. One Book you have been meaning to read?

The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, especially now that he has just passed. I have picked up the first volume more than once, but for some reason I always get distracted.

Now, who to tag?

Steve G, Philosopher's Playground--you're it.
71, Oxymoronic Philosopher--you're it.
IsThatLatin, Goldbricker--you're it.
Human, Secondhand Sun--you're it.