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Digital Sextant : Reading
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{ Category Archives } Reading

The Suspicions of Mister Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective By Kate Summerscale, narrated by Simon Vance When the three-year-old son of an upper class landowner goes missing in Victorian England, the authorities become concerned.  When he’s found murdered and left in an outhouse, things go from bad to […]

The Underground Empire of Joseph Wunderkind

I won’t review this book here, since it’s not published yet, but I just finished reading an early draft and enjoyed it very much.  You should check out the teasers over at Andrew Kozma’s blog, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. And for visual enjoyment, here are six first-page images that the […]

Critical Regionalism

Critical Regionalism: Connecting Politics and Culture in the American Landscape by Douglas Reichert Powell *Full disclosure: the author works in my department and is a friend of mine. In Critical Regionalism, Reichert Powell proposes a mode of critical inquiry one might describe as palimpsestic. Recognizing the multiple forces that go into shaping concepts of regions, […]

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Here Comes Everybody

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky My Writing for New Media class finished reading this last week, so I thought I’d post a few thoughts.  Shirky’s book makes a strong argument for ways to understand how the new digital environment shifts how we behave and how we collaborate.  He […]

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McLuhan, Fiore, and You

My students turned in their “media massage” assignments yesterday and they’re pretty great.  With that in mind, here’s one quote that stuck with me from my most recent reading of The Medium is the Massage. Professionalism is environmental.  Amateurism is anti-environmental.  Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment.  amateurism seeks the development of […]

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Boy that feels curmudgeonly

I just got a free copy (thanks, Tarcher Penguin!) of THE DUMBEST GENERATION by Mark Bauerlein.  Here’s the description on the back: They are The Dumbest Generation. They enjoy all the advantages of a prosperous, high-tech society. Digital technology has fabulously empowered them, loosened the hold of elders. Yet adolescents use these tools to wrap […]

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A nice feature of being slow on BookMooch

So I’ve raved before here about Bookmooch, the best book swapping site on the interwebs: You list books you want to give away, and get 1/10 of a point for each. You give books away for 1 point each (or three, if you send them internationally). You spend your points to request points books from […]


The Secular Conscience

The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life by Austin Dacey This book is pretty heavy in its philosophy for a general readership, but worth the slog.  Dacey argues that the problem with modern secular liberalism stems from what he calls the Liberty Fallacy: that because matters of conscience are matters of individual Liberty, […]

The Alienist

Carr’s book is pretty great. It’s the story of a serial murderer in New York in the 1890s.  The main character is a reporter who’s friends with Teddy Roosevelt (the chief of police) and with Lazlo Kretzler, an alienist (the term for a psychiatrist in the 1890s).  Because the murderer is picking out people he […]

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Rhet/Comp and New Media

Fellow academics, please do read through (or jump) to the end and pick up the meme if you’re willing — it would be helpful to me. When I was on the job market, I got three interviews at MLA.  One was a cattle-call interview where the interviewer and I exchanged “Oh, that’s nice” pleasantries with […]

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Do your homework

My Writing and Rhetoric 2: Online! students are working their way through Lawrence Weschler’s Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences. One of the readings was a chapter called “Helen Levitt: Ilium Off the Bowery,” in which Weschler writes: …we learn that one of the methods by which she accomplished such uncanny capture was through […]

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Burglar

by Maurice LeBlanc; read by various With grading finished and my intellectual activity relegated, for the next few days, to the backburner, I’m doing some home excavation.  We’ve gutted the bathroom and are putting in an exhaust fan, new drywall, new light fixtures, new vanity and mirror/cabinet.  As such, I have plenty of time to […]

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Things that make you feel your age

I just had an “old moment.”  I saw a book in my list of books I’d given away on Bookmooch that looked really intriguing.  It was called Take-Down, and was about the pursuit and capture of Kevin Mitnick, a famous cyber criminal.  I found myself thinking, “Man, that sounds like a good book.  I should […]

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Weekend media roundup

I finished and/or read a number of books in the last few days. Here’s a roundup: The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld; narrated by Kirby Heyborne I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. Rubenfeld mixes a significant amount of historical writing (almost like Erik Laarsen would write) in with his description of the murder […]

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The Final Solution: A Story of Detection

by Michael Chabon Enjoyable, well written, as expected. A quote: The application of creative intelligence to a problem, the finding of a solution at once dogged, elegant, and wild, this had always seemed to him to be the essential business of human beings–the discovery of sense and causality amid the false leads, the noise, the […]