Hey Professors! What’s Your Favorite Book?

Many thanks to the professors who submitted favorite books to be included in the newsletter and the blog. To read the ones in the latest newsletter, go to: http://www.kutztown.edu/library/about/newsletter.asp and click on the Fall 2005 edition of the library newsletter. The favorite books appear on page 4. Here are some others to enjoy.

The questions: What is your favorite book? Why?
The answers:

Mark Holowchak – Philosophy
Right now I would have to say that my favorite read is Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). It is a watershed in Freud’s thinking on instincts. Why is he turning away from his early model? What is it that convinces him not only of an erotic instinct, but a destructive instinct? Why is it that these two antagonistic instincts are often “seen” working toward the same ends? Is this new model empirically serviceable? It’s a headache, but in a good sort of way!

David Lambkin – Speech Communication & Theatre
My favorite book is Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. I love it because the prose is simple yet powerful and the location is so quintessentially American. But the real key for me is the focus on ambition and the complicated nexus of love, sex money, status, family,friends, community, heritage, that engages Steinbeck’s protagonist. It seems the most basic, yet complex, problems of being human are explored in what I would call a timeless novel.

Bob Ryan – Psychology
My favorite book (recently) is Consiousness – An Introduction by Susan Blackmore. The topic of the book is the next great question for human kind: “What is the nature of consciousness?” or, to put it another way, “How does a physical object, the brain, give rise to something that seems to have no physical existence, even though it undeniably exists, that is, our conscious awareness”. Answering that question will be an accomplishment as important as Newton’s mechanics, Einstein’s relativity, or Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA.

Blackmore doesn’t pretend to answer the question, but rather takes the reader on a tour of the pertinent issues and the positions taken on them by various philosophers, neuroscientists, and cognitive psychologists.

It is written so as to be accessible to the non-philosopher and/or non-scientist, but does not dumb down the topic. It is tremendously challenging intellectual work, and the author even cautions the reader at the beginning of the book that if they do not want to risk having their most cherished beliefs fundamentally challenged, then they should not read it. I did, and am very glad.

Diane Johnson – Anthropology/Sociology
Graham T. Allison’s Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missle Crisis. It is out in a new–2nd edition–but I loved the first.

Will Jefferson – Rohrbach Library
A favorite of mine is The Journey by Sarah Stewart. It is a really beautifully done children’s book with fantastic illustrations.


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