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Current Issue

Winter 2010

On My Bookshelf: Assistant Professor Martin West

martin_west.jpgCurrently reading: Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University by Morton and Phyllis Keller.

The thing that drew you to it: Mainly the chance to learn about the history of my new employer and HGSE's place within it. It's always useful to know where any bodies are buried so that you can avoid the same fate.

Last great read: Jonathan Lehrer's Proust and the Neuroscientist, which shows how great artists often anticipated key findings of modern brain research.

Book(s) you have read over and over: Thanks to my son, both Curious George and The Lorax are now in heavy rotation. A book I've returned to on my own many times is Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.

Favorite spot to curl up with a good book: Outside with a mountain view -- though that's not always practical. In our new home, we have a small den with a large beanbag that looks like it will do nicely. And while you can't exactly curl up, I always manage to get a lot of reading done on airplanes.

Reading rituals: For reasons I don't fully understand, I like to keep my books as pristine as possible. I don't like dog-earing pages and would never underline or write in the margins, as useful as it might be to do so.

Next up: Gerald Grant's Hope and Despair in the American City: Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh. I'm skeptical of the subtitle's claim, but I've learned a lot from Grant's earlier books and am confident that the same will be true of this one.

Photo by Tanit Sakakini