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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Speaking of Summer Reading

Thomas Baker’s post A Summer Reading List on Teaching got me thinking about summer reading lists in general.  Every year I make a list of books to read during the summer months. Some of the books are purely for pleasure.  Other books on the list are books that I figure I ought to read.  Then there are books I’ve tried reading before, but couldn’t quite bring myself to finish, but which probably deserve another stab.  There’s even a subcategory of books that I feel as if I’ve already read, but actually haven’t, and that now is the time.  I also have carry-overs from the prior summer’s list. And I have a subcategory of recent add-ons I’ve gotten from reading Prawfsblawg these past few weeks: Stuart Buck’s Acting White and Ken Bain’s What the Best College Teachers Do.  Of course, I rarely get to more than half the books on my list, especially since I'm easily distracted by other books.  Still, it’s nice to have a list. I’m always looking for recommendations.  And I’m always curious to know what books other professors have on their summer reading list.

So below (in no particular order) is my list. Am I missing any “must reads”?  And what’s on your list?

1.  Alafair Burke's 212. (For sheer fun; her thrillers are good!)
2.  Janet Halley's Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break From Feminism. (I still can't believe I haven't read this yet.)
3.  Paul Butler's Let Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice.  (Again, another book I should have read already.)
4. Joanna Grossman & Linda McClain's Gender Equality: Dimensions of Women's Equal Citizenship
5. David Alan Sklansky's Democracy and the Police.
6. Stuart Buck's Acting White
7. Melville's Moby Dick. (Time for another stab at this behemoth.)
8. Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do.  (I'll at least skim it.)
9. Jonathan Franzen's Freedom.  (His novel The Corrections is one of my favorite novels from the last few decades.  His new novel Freedom is due out in August.  If it's anything like the excerpt in The New Yorker, it's going to be good!)
10. Nikhil Pal Singh's Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy.  (I think a friend recommended this.)

So again, am I missing any "must reads"?  And what's on your list?

Posted by Bennett Capers on June 17, 2010 at 08:21 AM | Permalink


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Well, this day is a good as any other: I'm only an adjunct instructor, teaching one and at most two classes per semester. My other job involves landscape maintenance for our condo. association, which is largely on weekends. Perhaps needless to say, my dear wife (who works in a hospital as a 'unit coordinator') essentially supports whatever discretionary reading time I have.

I'm intimately aware of how fortunate I am in this regard but it also involves a decision to be content with a fairly (and comparatively) frugal lifestyle (apart from the book buying I suppose) and reflects (for better and worse) almost complete lack of professional ambition. Having worked over the twenty-five plus years before I started teaching as a dishwasher, amusement park food service worker and ride operator, truck driver, forest service firefighter, trail construction worker (for the USFS and private contractor), construction laborer, beekeeper's helper, sign shop laborer, medical lab driver, and finish carpenter (among other things), I see myself as making up for lost time!

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Jun 18, 2010 1:01:14 PM

Patrick--I love your comments, but some day you have to explain how you get more reading done as a community college prof than I do as a law prof...

Posted by: anonprof | Jun 18, 2010 11:31:09 AM

Of course I'm not a law professor (or even a professor) but I do teach at a community college and have an abiding interest in many-things-jurisprudential, even if the above list doesn't convey that...cf. http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/2010/06/promises-and-contract-law-introduction.html

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Jun 17, 2010 9:23:27 AM

Well, we did this at Concurring Opinions not long ago (end of May) and since then I've added a bit to the list and started reading several titles, but here's my original list:

1. Alexy, Robert. A Theory of Legal Argumentation: The Theory of Rational Discourse as…. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
2. Baker, C. Edwin. Media Concentration and Democracy: Why Ownership Matters. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
3. Bowen, John R. Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves; Islam, the State and Public Space. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.
4. Brighouse, Harry and Ingrid Robeyns, eds. Measuring Justice: Primary Goods and Capabilities. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
5. Cabezón, José Ignacio and Geshe Lobsang Dargay. Freedom from Extremes: Gorampa’s “Distinguishing the Views” and the Polemics of Emptiness. Somerville, MA: Wisdom, 2007.
6. Colby, Frederick S., trans. The Subtlelties of the Ascension: Early Mystical Sayings on Muhammad’s Heavenly Journey. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2006.
7. Frank, Richard M. Classical Islamic Theology: The Ash‘arites. Ashgate Variorum, 2008.
8. French, Peter A., ed. Shared Intentions and Collective Responsibility. Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.
9. Hodgson, Jacqueline. French Criminal Justice: A Comparative Account of the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime in France. Portland, OR: Hart, 2005.
10. Honderich, Ted. Punishment: The Supposed Justifications. London: Pluto Press, 2005 ed.
11. Honderich, Ted. Terrorism for Humanity: Inquiries in Political Philosophy. London: Pluto Press, 2005 ed.
12. Kolb, Robert. An Introduction to the Law of the United Nations. Portland, OR: Hart, 2010.
13. Maoz, Zeev. Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security & Foreign Policy. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2006.
14. Marlow, Louise. Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Islamic Thought. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
15. May, Larry. Genocide: A Normative Account. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
16. Miles, Stephen H. Oath Betrayed: America’s Torture Doctors. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009.
17. Perrigo, Sarah and Jim Whitman, eds. The Geneva Conventions Under Assault. London: Pluto Press, 2010.
18. Perry, Michael J. Toward a Theory of Human Rights: Religion, Law, Courts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
19. Raz, Joseph. Between Authority and Interpretation: On the Theory of Law and Practical Reason. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
20. Rhode, Deborah L. Access to Justice. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
21. Ritchie, Jack. Understanding Naturalism. Acumen, 2008.
22. Sachedina, Abdulaziz. The Just Ruler in Shi‘ite Islam…. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
23. Westerhoff, Jan. The Dispeller of Disputes: Nagarjuna’s Vigrahavyavartani. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
24. Zappalà, Salvatore. Human Rights in International Criminal Proceedings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

And here's what I've since added:

25. Bryant, Edwin F., trans. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali (2009)
26. Buescher, John B. Echoes from an Empty Sky: The Origins of the Buddhist Doctrine of the Two Truths (2005)
27. Gordley, James, ed. The Enforceability of Promises in European Contract Law (2001)
28. Guttenplan, Samuel. Objects of Metaphor (2005)
29. Hacker, P.M.S. Human Nature: The Categorial Framework (2007)
30. McGinnis, Jon. Avicenna (2010)
31. Mohanty, J.N. Essays on Indian Philosophy: Traditional and Modern (2002)
32. Pollock, Sheldon. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture and Power in Premodern India (2006)
33. Rambachan, Anantanand. Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Knowledge in Sankara (1991)
34. Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi. Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge: Themes in Ethics, Metaphysics and Soteriology (2007)
35. Reynolds, Dwight F. Arab Folklore: A Handbook (2007)
36. Watson, Alex. The Self's Awareness of Itself: Bhatta Ramakantha's Arguments Against the Buddhist Doctrine of No-Self (2006)

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Jun 17, 2010 9:20:08 AM

I've said it before (http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2008/02/sunday-book-blo.html) and I'll say it again: "Straight Man" is one of the funniest novels I've ever read, and it's about academia to boot!

Posted by: Scott Dodson | Jun 17, 2010 8:58:32 AM

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