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My bookshelves at the Obermann center

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, rambly

When I started my Fellowship at the Obermann Center, one of the first things I said to myself was I can’t deal with empty bookshelves, I’ll need to bring some books. [1] I gathered those books in a bit of an ad-hoc fashion. If I recall correctly, I did a five-minute environmental scan of my Grinnell office and grabbed things of possible interest. Afterwards, when I saw a book that seems relevant, I brought it along.

As I reflect upon why I chose books, the books seemed intended to serve a variety of purposes. I chose some for reference; when I wanted to think about an issue, I’d have it there at hand. I chose some for inspiration; I hoped to sit down and read them in one of the sunny nooks at the center [2]. I realize that I chose some as totems; they represent issues I needed to think about and having them on my shelves was to remind me of those issues. And I chose a few because I anticipated that they would eventually be subjects of musings*.

In any case, here’s the current state of my shelves when I sketched this musing in the middle of September. Since then, I’ve added, borrowed, and shuffled books [3]. But it seems sufficiently representative for the purposes of this musing.

A variety of books on a single shelf of a bookshelf.

Let’s see what’s there.

Gurton, Sharon R. (Ed.) 1981. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 17: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Today’s Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Filmmakers, and Other Creative Writers. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company.

I picked up based on an earlier musing in which I expressed interest in seeing what M. Mark wrote about Bruce Springsteen. But this volume is filled with comments on musicians: I see not only Springsteen, but also Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, and Joan Armatrading. Comics also seem to be a topic, or at least I see coverage of Stan Lee and Robert Crumb. There’s even a section for Raoul Duke [4]. While my original plan had been to reflect on the M. Mark piece, I also see value in reflecting on the whole volume.

Unfortunately, I did not manage to muse about this topic this semester. But it’s on my long-term list of books to muse about.

Lombardi, Marilyn May (Ed.). 1993. Elizabeth Bishop: The Geography of Gender. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.

One of the running elements of Erik Simpson’s Lighting the Page was Bishop’s poem One Art. I recall being frustrated that the source we used gave no evidence of the original place of publication. Later, I was surprised to learn that the poem had a different meaning than I’d originally attached to it. In any case, this volume contains Brett Candlish Millier’s Elusive Mastery: The Drafts of Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art, which I want to read. Will that become a musing? I’m not yet sure.

Google. n.d. Blank Book.

The notebook I’m using for some of my work on the digital humanities project. Perhaps I should use a different bibliography entry that mentions myself. But to the outside observer, that’s what it looks like.

Gidal, Eric. 2015. Ossianic Unconformities: Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press [6].

Wikipedia tells us that

Ossian is the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson from 1760.

If I recall correctly, Gidal’s book is not just about Macpherson, but about a century-later attempt to prove that Macpherson actually used ancient sources, rather than inventing them himself. It’s a really interesting topic. The book also explores issues of nature and the representation of nature in literature. It’s an interesting topic. Plus, Eric is a fellow Fellow [7].

Arminio, Jan, Torres, Vasti, and Pope, Raechele L. (Eds.). 2012. Why Aren’t We There Yet? Taking Person Responsibility for Creating an Inclusive Campus. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Inclusion is core to what I do. This serves as inspiration and an attempt to broaden my thinking on such issues.

Cohen, Daniel J. and Scheinfeldt, Tom (Eds.). 2013. Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from the Digital Humanities. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

This was recommended by someone at a Digital Humanities workshop a few years back. I see that it has a Creative Commons license. Why didn’t I just download it from somewhere?

Battershill, Claire and Ross, Shawna. 2017. Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction for Teachers, Lecturers, and Students. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

It’s what I’m doing, right? I’ve used this for a definition of digital humanities in the introduction and a paper.

Wachter-Boettcher, Sara. 2017. Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech. New York and London: W.W. Norton.

The other side of digital humanities; a criticism of technology. I think this may also be on of this year’s SIGCSE reads.

Di Leo, Jeffrey (Ed.). 2004. On Anthologies: Politics and Pedagogy. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

I picked this book up after reading an article about the challenges of creating an anthology of Gene Kelly interviews to read an article by Cary Nelson. The article was definitely worth reading. Now it sits on my shelf to remind me to muse about the topic.

Montfort, Nick. 2016. Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

I had intended to use this book to expand how I thought about approaching the topics of the class. But too much of it seemed like a straightforward introduction to programming when I glanced through it. Still, it sits on my shelf just in case.

Noble, Safiya Umoja. 2018. _Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press.

A powerful challenge to how we view algorithms. One of the first things I took from the book was the example of Google autocomplete and whether fills in the most popular next word is the appropriate goal, particularly when the search term is something like Women should not.

Sjón. 2018. Codex 1962: A Trilogy. Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb. New York: MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

I need some fiction around. However, I can’t quite remember why I chose this particular work.

Schumacher, Julie. 2018. The Shakespeare Requirement. New York, Doubleday.

Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members had me in stitches. Hence, when I saw this at Prairie Lights the day after a signing, I picked it up. I’m not sure why I left it at Obermann, rather than bringing it home.

Ahmed, Sara. 2017. Living a Feminist Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

From a workshop I could not attend. It’s remains important that I read it.

Felleisen, Matthias, Findler, Robert Bruce, Flatt, Matthew, and Krishnamurthi, Shriram. 2001. How to Design Programs: An Introduction to Programming and Computing.

One of the best introductory textbooks around. I’m not sure why I have the first edition, though. Maybe I’ll just rely on the online second edition. I’ve heard talk of a draft third edition, but there’s just a small placeholder on Matthias’ Web site.

I did pick up the second edition later in the semester. It’s sitting by my desk at home.

Kirschenbaumm, Matthew G. 2016. Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

This book has been on my to read list for two summers. It is not directly relevant to the class, but it’s likely useful to think about.

Ullman, Ellen. 2017. Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology.

Another in the category of not quite relevant, but on my long-term reading list.

Whitehead, Albert North. 1967. The Aims of Education and Other Essays. New York: The Free Press.

I grabbed this one in my first I need to stock my shelves expedition. My rationale was that I should, on occasion, read classic texts on education. Was this a good choice? I never read it, so I’m not sure.

Portela, Manuel. 2013. Scripting Reading Motions: The Codex and the Computer as Self-Reflexive Machines. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Something that can help me think about new forms of writing allowed by computers.

Montfort, Nick. 2003. Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

See previous comment.

Monmonier, Mark. 1996. How to Lie With Maps, Second edition. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

I have no idea why I brought this book. Maybe it was to get me to think more broadly about digital humanities work. Did someone recommend it? I forget. I see that there’s now a third edition, but I’ll probably stick with the second for the time being.

Blatt, Ben. 2017. Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Another text from Lighting the Page. Provides a good starting point for comparatively straightforward approaches to using computers to analyze texts and therefore ideas for the course.

Williams, Joseph M. 1990. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

I’ve written about this text before. I’d intended to use it to get back into editor mode and to help myself write better. It’s also on my list of books to muse about. But I struggled enough with writing that I never got into editing mode.

This book also serves as a totem, of sorts.

Nunes, Mark (Ed.). 2011. Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures. New York and London: Bloomsbury.

Another in the Why did I bring this? camp. I may have grabbed it as a way to think differently about computing.

Ramsay, Stephen. 2011. Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism. Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Just in case I wasn’t already too focused on a text-based digital humanities class.

Fink, L. Dee. 2003. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

At times, I need to step back and think more broadly about pedagogical approaches. This book came recommended to me some years ago, but I haven’t cracked it yet.

hooks, bell. 1995. Art on My Mind: visual politics. New York: The New Press.

Just something to get me to think more broadly. And, amazingly, it’s likely it will. When sketching this piece, I opened to the section entitled Workers for Artistic Freedom and found the following.

In a democratic society art should be the location where everyone can witness the joy, pleasure, and power that emerges when there is freedom of expression, even when a work created evokes pain, outrage, sorrow, or shame.

That’s the last book on my shelves. That also seems to be a good place to end.

[1] At least that’s what I remembered. Now that I check what I wrote that day, I see that it was The bookshelves are also way too empty. I’ll need to bring some books here.

[2] When I sketched this musing in mid-September, I said I’ll need to do some of that before the temperature gets much colder. I failed.

[3] I’d anticipated posting some subsequent musings about new books. Because I never finished this musing, those didn’t happen either.

[4] Admittedly, the entry for Raoul Duke redirects to the section on Hunter S. Thompson [5].

[5] The entry for Sebastian Owl also redirects to Hunter S. Thompson.

[6] I wonder when it went from being the University Press of Virginia to the University of Virginia Press

[7] I had intended to ask Eric to sign it. But I didn’t want to do until I read a significant amount and, well, you know the rest.

Version 1.0 of 2018-12-16.