Suggestions Please: Gifts for Those Who Read (And Maybe Those Who Just Pretend)

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6 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    I’d recommend any books by J.M. Coetzee. _Disgrace_ is probably the most well known and is excellent. That or _Elizabeth Costello_ are likely to hit a bit close to home to at least a few academics. _Waiting for the Barbarians_ was written in the 80’s about a fictional empire but is hard not to read in light of today. All are excellent and not too long. That also makes them nice for academics who have to try to fit in fiction reading between work.

  2. Fraud Guy says:

    I would recommend _The Deed of Paksenarrion_ by Elizabeth Moon. Fantasy, but about moral choices.

  3. Frank says:

    For the economist: Richard Layard, Happiness: LEssons from a New Science

    For the teacher: Richard Lanham, The Economics of Attention

    For the cynic: Daniel Harris, Cute, Quaint, Hungry, and Romantic: The Aesthetics of Consumerism

    For the do-gooder: Grossman, ed., High-Tech Trash

    For the academic: Star, ed., Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca

    For the cultural declinist: Morris Berman, The Twilight of American Culture

    For the insecure: David English, The Economy of Prestige

    For the fan of academic memoirs: Terry Eagleton, The Gatekeeper

    For the glamorous: Alex Kuczynski, Beauty Junkies.

  4. Sigivald says:

    I’d never buy books by the foot (if only because I have enough and want enough that I could fill feet of bookshelf without resorting to it), but I’d happily buy art as decor.

    After all, it’s visual. Since it’s For Looking At, it makes sense to ensure that it fits in with the surrounding area, unless you have some specific desire for a specific piece (in which case the rest of the decor can adapt to it).

  5. mollishka says:

    I second the Schrodinger’s Cats and Kittens suggestions; some annoyed teacher lent them to me when I was 11 or 12, and though I didn’t know they related to “physics,” that was how I knew I wanted to do physics.

    And now I go to the bookstore with your suggestions in hand. Thanks!

  6. D McEvoy says:

    Oh get over yourselves. So what if someone wants to decorate with books. You all know that anyone buying a “Three Quarter Morocan Leather Edition in Fine Condition with Gold Gilt Spine and Pages with Marbled Boards and BLAH BLAH BLAH” is buying that book at least as much for its looks as its contents. Not mention that if you even touch a certain rare edition without cotton gloves you are looked as insane by many collectors, imagine if you tried to read the darn thing, you’d likely be beaten by a book worm. The books we buy to read are paper backs. That way if it ends up floating in the tub because you fell asleep you are not out a whole weeks pay. There is nothing wrong with decorating with books, if there was, they wouldn’t make them so darn decorative! The age of fine book binding is for the most part passed. But don’t kid youselves into to thinking those bindings were anything less than decoration and status symbols. If there was never a market for books as decor, they never would have been made that way to begin with and this conversation would not come up. Anyone who says they aren’t pleased with the look of their antiquarian book collection is flat out lying and I’d bet that most of those books are never read again once purchased.

    On an unrelated note, most of you would disagree with me probably drink bottled water and are upset about global warming. Just keep in mind that each year 20,000 metric tons of those bottles end up in land fill. Also 40% of all bottled water is tap water. 70% of all bottled water has more lead, arcenic and chlorine than tap water. For the cost of one up scale litre of bottled water you can get 1500 gallons of municipal water, and no fosil fuels were burned getting it here from Franc, Fiji or Norway. People who think too much and still end up stupid are just plain fun to have around.