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February 4th, 2017

Muriel writes: This book studies the power of ideology in order to analyze and understand a critical historical moment. Reading it changed completely how I thought about the mechanism of oppression and more generally, of history.

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
February 3rd, 2017

From Kevin: Now is a time to rethink borders...national borders, political borders, the borders between us and the "other," and the borders of our tolerances, morality, and ideologies.

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
February 2nd, 2017

From bookseller Conor:

I've had a ton of people ask what we recommend for this time. One I go back to personally a lot is Walter Benjamin's "Theses on the Philosophy of History" as a way of stopping to collect my thoughts and recognize the necessity of thinking (and reading) critically, especially when it seems like all recent events appear as "one single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage" (Thesis IX). Given the historical circumstances under which this text was written, fleeing fascist governments across Europe in 1940 with a briefcase full of what would be his final notes before taking his own life, Benjamin's essay is remarkably clairvoyant: 

"Thinking involves not only the movement of thoughts, but their arrest as well. Where thinking suddenly comes to a stop in a constellation saturated with tensions, it gives that constellation a shock, by which...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
February 1st, 2017
 
Posted in: Reading Is Critical
February 1st, 2017

“Reading and critical thinking are dangerous, indeed subversive, in an unjust society.” (Carl Sagan, University of Chicago AB’54, SB’55, SM’56, PHD’60)

Reading is critical, in both senses of the word. Crucial, of course, insofar as it is a cornerstone of communication, a primary means by which we receive information. But it is also an active form of resistance, a tactic in the struggle against ignorance, misinformation, and manipulation. To read is to become knowledgeable; to become knowledgeable is to become powerful. 


 

This month, we will share reading lists and recommendations that are, in these senses, “critical.” We invite you to share yours as well. Post on Instagram, Twitter, or...

Posted in: Reading Is Critical
December 28th, 2016

Emily J. Lordi is the author of Donny Hathaway’s Donny Hathaway Live (Bloomsbury 33⅓ series, 2016). Join Lordi, in conversation with Tara Betts, for a book talk and listening party in celebration of the first nonfiction book about Hathaway, Friday, January 13th at the Co-op. RSVP...

Posted in: Bibliographies
December 19th, 2016

John Tipton’s first collection, surfaces, was published by Flood Editions in 2004. Two translations of Greek tragedies have followed: Sophocles’ Ajax (2008) and Aeschylus’s Seven against Thebes (2015), both published by Flood. He is the publisher of Verge Books, a small literary press he runs with Peter O’Leary. Since 1990 he has called Chicago...

Posted in: Bibliographies
December 19th, 2016

I’ve been a sales rep for Harvard University Press, The MIT Press and Yale University Press since 1998.  It seems impossible but I did the math: during that time I represented over 15,000 individual titles.  I’ve always loved these books in a general way, but every season there have been a scattering of personal favorites that I promoted with a little extra enthusiasm. “Books I would actually buy and read” was the way I thought about them.

I couldn’t resist an invitation from my favorite store to share my top favorites, but the execution was more challenging than I expected. As I reviewed 36 seasons worth of annotated catalogs, there were hundreds of books published by these Presses that I loved, not just a couple dozen.  I...

Posted in: Bibliographies
December 19th, 2016

Darby English is the Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (MIT Press, 2007) and 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (University of Chicago...

Posted in: Bibliographies
December 19th, 2016

Haun Saussy is University Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. His books include: The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic (Stanford University Press), Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China (Harvard University Asia Center), The Ethnography of Rhythm: Orality and its...

Posted in: Bibliographies