Thursday, September 29, 2005

check this out! (or, at least, eventually you will be able to, if you have a uw id or access to interlibrary loan)

(insert my name above)

I got this e-mail a couple days ago regarding a generous gesture being offered by Wisconsin as a reward for my getting promoted:
This email is a follow-up to the email letter you received in May apprising you of a new UW-Madison Library initiative called Honoring the Faculty. As part of Honoring the Faculty, the Library will be adding a book of your choice to one of the Library collections. The selection will be bookplated with your name, department, degree, and the year of your promotion. [...]

Your Book Selection: Please choose anything that is meaningful to you -- this can be something in your field, something you wrote or edited, a book you read growing up, poetry, a children's book, fiction or nonfiction. The key is that it means something to you and you want to share your selection with others.
I choose any book, and one copy of it with a nameplate dedicated to me will be on the shelves of the University of Wisconsin libraries for posterity. What should I pick? What would you pick?

Update, 1:15pm: In addition to the comments, a couple people have e-mailed ideas for books I could choose if I was feeling rue or malcontent toward UW-Madison. Which, just to be completely clear, I'm not--I've been treated so well by everyone there and have downright warm-n-gooey feelings about the place. But if I had been asked to choose a book on one of the darker days that all mercurial people have in even the best situations on the path to tenure, I think I would have selected either He's Just Not That Into You or So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish.


Anonymous said...

What should YOU pick? Oh, come on!

jeremy said...

I have many ideas of my own. I'm intrigued at what others might say. In any case, you could just ignore that question and answer what you would pick.

A+ said...

Most likely, I'd pick Our Town. Cheesy? Eh, maybe. But I just love Our Town so much. The extraordinary in the mundane and all that stuff.

Either that or Betty Crocker's Cooky Book from 1963. When I was a child I'd stare for hours at the pictures of cookies. I found it fascinating. Even now, sometimes when I visit my folks' house, I go back to the bookshelf and dig it out. It's a really soothing reminder of my early love of food, and cooking in the kitchen with my parents. (And the recipes are good, too.)

Anonymous said...

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret

Julie said...

How about one of those "Magic Eye" collections? Nothing represents social research better than staring at a book until your eyes cross and the answer magically jumps out at you... :-p

Anonymous said...

I think you should choose 'The Way of the Master' by Kirk Cameron. Either that or Lolita. (Since you're two favorite things in this world are celebrities who found religion and kiddie porn.)

Absolut said...

I think I'd avoid picking something that's related to my field, too much pressure there. Although I don't read much fiction, I may end up going with a novel. Don't know though.

And yes, it is a very nice gesture.

Anonymous said...


Tom Bozzo said...

Shouldn't it be a STATA manual? I thought in your Harvard office picture, I saw them in a privileged position on your shelves... Or, for extra hubris value, your limited dependent variables in STATA book?

Anonymous said...

I'd pick something that should always be fun to use and come close to 'experiencing' a great mind at work: eg the very best available facsimile printing of DaVinci drawings —

Anonymous said...

How about the Intro to Sociology text with the absolute *best* chapter on culture and socialization?

sep said...

oooh, I didn't write that last comment, I swear it!

I'd pick Bourdieu's "Homo Academicus", but that's just me.

I'd guess you'd pick one of the Harry Potter series. I mean, it represents the time when you got the promotion, right? Or maybe something by Dickens? :)

Drek said...

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

Most sociological book ever.

chris said...

what a cool idea. i would have picked the infinite jest, but a strange thing happened when i started looking around my office. almost every title seemed to express something about how i felt at some point during the long tenure run:
-deviant children grown up,
-makes me wanna holler,
-alienation and freedom,
-just and painful,
-when work disappears,
-sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs,
-identification of pre-delinquents,
-in search of respect,
-occupational prestige in comparative perspective
-the power elite,
-body count
-who owns america?
-does training the disadvantaged work?
-felony justice,
-advanced abnormal child psychology
-the presentation of self in everyday life
-the organization man,
-being adolescent,
-the politics of injustice,
-internal labor markets,
-the society of captives,
-class and conformity,
-control: sociology's central notion
-seductions of crime,
-aging and the social sciences,
-learning to labor,
-identity, youth and crisis,
-ain't no makin' it,
-getting paid

Constance said...

How about that procrastination book? Get it? Some poor kid with a hideous procrastination problem will check the book out and see your name plate and be sooooooooooo inspired.

Anonymous said...

JECG: Definitely Douglas Coupland, either Microserfs or Shampoo Planet.

Anonymous said...

The complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes. No, not the philosophers -- the cartoon of the boy and his stuffed tiger doll.

Anonymous said...

'Tom Sawyer', with your very own autograph on chapter re whitewashing the fence.

shakha said...

How about a sex manual? I might suggest:

How to Get Laid: The Gay Man's Essential Guide to Hot Sex by Jonathan Bass


Sex Parties 101 by Simon Sheppard

You could go down a different road. There are some children's books I'm particularly fond of:

The Gas We Pass by Shinta Cho
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

I sure as hell wouldn't pick a sociology book.

Agee said...

Edward Gorey's The Doubtful Guest.

AK said...

I would probably pick that graphic novel Palestine by Joe Sacco or some other interesting comic book. Please do that, because I want to use comics when I teach and in the event that someone complains I'd like to be able to say, "well look, they're in the university library, selected by a socoiologist, with a special nameplate and everything..."

Anonymous said...

You really only have one true option: Toilet Training the Retarded: a Rapid Program for Day and Nighttime Independent Toileting by Richard M. Foxx, which has since been renamed Toilet Training Persons With Developmental Disabilities: A Rapid Program for Day and Nighttime Independent Toileting.