Summer Reading List 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What Is It

Summer is here – what philosophers, philosophies, or philosophical issues do you want to read up on? Heidegger's Being and Time may not be the obvious choice to take on vacation, but there are lots of readable, beach-friendly classics and non-classics to add philosophical depth to your summer reading. John and Ken take suggestions from listeners and special guests: Lars Iyer, author of Wittgenstein Jr (A Novel); Berit Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love: Simple Truth About a Complex Emotion; and Jane Hirshfield, author of The Beauty and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World.

Listening Notes

John and Ken begin their discussion on this summer's reading suggestions by introducing Lars Iyer, professor of creative writing at Newcastle University and the author of several novels. Ken comments on the philosophical themes of Iyer's new book, Wittgenstein Jr., is, and questions what makes the book more a novel than a philosophical work. Iyer later explains that because the book is fiction it is allowed to explore certain counterfactuals about Wittgenstein that would be less vivid in a format like a biography. He ends his segment on the show by suggesting several works of "wisdom literature" by Gillian Rose.

The show continues with the introduction of the award-winning poet, Jane Hirshfield. She begins by speaking about her new book, The Beauty: Poems, and how poetry can serve as a form of "antidote" to philosophy. In addressing the title of the book, Jane explains how the role of poetry can often be to find the beauty in things that we often avoid or refuse to accept. On the topic of the political power of poetry, Jane suggests that even personal works are of great importance. She ends her segment with several selections of poetry for summer reading.

John and Ken go on to introduce Berit Brogaard, professor at the University of Miami and author of the recent book On Romantic Love: Simple Truth About a Complex Emotion. Ken questions whether love is truly an emotion, as he sees it as not being episodic like other emotions. Brogaard responds that there are different types of love, including attachment love, romantic love, and lust, and that these can vary greatly. Brogaard ends by briefly explaining several other approaches to love that some authors have proposed. 

Roving Philosophical Report:

(Seek to 2:40):  Shuka Kalantari reads through a collection of excerpts from various listeners' favorite novels.

(Seek to 14:55): Shuka Kalantari examines how poetry affects the brain, and she is accompanied by a poem recital by guest Jane Hirshfield.

(Seek to 33:30): Shuka Kalantari looks into some of the many ways to say "I love you."

60-Second Philosopher (Seek to 47:48): Ian Shoales questions how old classics of literature are interpreted in modern ways. 


Recommendations from John and Ken

Wittgenstein Jr
Lars Iyer
The Beauty: Poems
Jane Hirshfield
Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World
Jane Hirshfield

On Romantic Love: Simple Truth About a Complex Emotion
Berit Brogaard

Recommendations from listeners and guests

Love's Work
Gillian Rose
Gillian Rose
Map: Collected and Last Poems
Wisława Szymborska
Selected Poems
Tomas Tranströmer
Elegies and Other Poems
Lars Gustafsson
Basic Writings
Anatomy of Love
Helen Fisher
Love's Vision
Troy Jollimore
The Paradox of Love
Pascal Bruckner
The Third Violet
Stephen Crane