Professor Adjunct KENT BLOOMER just finished Up Against the Wall: Reimagining the U.S. Border, by Edward S. Casey and Mary Watkins (2014). The book is a rigorous and very disturbing critique of the U.S. construction of heavily policed 16’ high wall along much our southern border. Remedies are proposed.
SURRY SCHLABS, PhD candidate, just picked up Erasmus Darwin’s Botanic Garden (1791), which he is looking at in the context of some research on William Blake, who was both an admirer of Darwin’s poetry, and one of a small group of artists contributing illustrations to the work. Comprised of two long poems, Botanic Garden sought to make the natural history of vegetation accessible and interesting to a broad, popular audience. It did so, in part, by anthropomorphizing plants — with a special focus on sexual reproduction — thereby emphasizing the biological continuity of vegetable and animal life across the natural world. This particular thread would be picked up by Erasmus’s grandson Charles, decades later, in his own, much more well-known treatise on natural history, On the Origin of Species (1959). The theory of evolution, it would seem, was something of a family business.
Critic JOYCE HSIANG has on her bed The Dear Life by Alice Munro, _Colm Toibi_n by Nora Webster (picked up on the advice of Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor NIALL McLAUGHLIN) and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco.
RICHARD DEFLUMERI, Senior Administrative Assistant, just finished Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and is now re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune. Foundation is “sweeping, epic, science fiction – spanning centuries and proposing a grand theory on the predictable course of civilization, but is also a bit short on actual action and character development,” according to DeFlumeri. It’s also considered among the last great sci-fi/fantasy properties to be adapted into film/TV (and which HBO is now attempting). Dune follows a similar epic trajectory, but does not skip so freely through the decades, allowing it to spend a great deal more time developing individual stories and character voices.