Ostensibly, editor Gary Paul Nabhan’s collection of friends’ essays, The Nature of Desert Nature is about the desert. Rather … it’s human nature that we encounter delving into this collection of essays. The writers reminisce on their own beingness as they encountering one specific desert: the Sonoran. The Sonoron is the desert covers vast area in the Southwest United States…
Not a week for finishing things. It was a hard week. Beginning with late night Sunday news from Las Vegas … being glued to the news all Monday, followed by a scare at USC. Everything felt on edge, a little too bright, a little to brittle. Breakable and fragile. It was a week for hugs. For discussing solutions with smart…
More from my work-life …
This conversation contains spoilers – how do you talk about this amazing novel without talking about it?
One thing we didn’t get to talk about is the nature of the narration – what is actually known in the novel and what is the narrator making up? What are the stories we tell ourselves? How do they both give us hope and keep us compliant in an unhealthy world filled with inequality?
The “we” of Lee’s novel can only say for sure that Fan left B-Mor (and what a lovely name, be more … what? Dutiful? Compliant?). Once she leaves, there seems to be little evidence that they could actually follow her journey. So they ask themselves, why did she leave duty and home and safety, and what will she face outside these walls?
This novel takes scissors to so many cultural knots … my whole world view unravels in the face of this “we” who both need the hope of escape and the safety of what they know. Is this how history is made?
That’s right, and I got such a kick out of it. Let’s just say some faculty weren’t sure we should cover fiction on the podcast, but I’m persevering.
Perhaps The Trial would have been better, but I love the idea of discussing the never-ending bureaucracy of The Castle. That we never really get to an ending, that we aren’t really sure of the main character.
Kafka really knew how to describe the frustration and utter endlessness of dealing with the endless machinations of “the system.” Great, if a bit terrifying read. Maybe every time some customer is on hold, the call center is filled with the sounds of this audio book, in loop forever and ever.
Book 4 in my experimental audio book club with the Bedrosian Center : Beyond the University by Michael S. Roth. One of the fundamental questions – what makes a good citizen in a democracy? Mustn’t a citizen be well-rounded in their education to have the right tools with which to make good decisions voting? Roth gives the reader an overview…
I feel really lucky to be able to do something like this. Book number three in this book club experiment put so many things in perspective. The latest book the faculty discussed is Didier Fassin’s Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing, a study of anti-crime squad in the outskirts of Paris. I’m not even sure anymore how I found…
Another work post.
This time, our faculty discuss California lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom’s book Citizenville.
My opinion? On the whole, this is a pretty dull read. But … he does ask some important questions. What if government could be more agile? What if government were able to take the same risks as business?
I’m not sure he offers real solutions, or even real ideas – but at this point it’s nice to see any politician thinking about the what ifs. The faculty had a good conversation tho.
The Bedrosian Center is experimenting …
An audio book club. We’ll gather 3-4 faculty to discuss a book that has some governance relevance to jaw about it.
This is a huge book, I asked them to keep it to 45 minutes … ha! Our team decided to split it into two segments.
Part 1 addresses Piketty’s grand scholarly undertaking, why a data driven economics book is a sudden “summer” bestseller, as well as some of the economic theory behind Piketty’s now famous equation R > G.
In part 2, our discussion turns to Piketty’s prediction of greater inequality.