Book Clubs

 

INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE
With Sarah McNally

Monday, June 1st at 7pm.

"No other document takes us so deeply into the pre-Christian mind. This act of time-travel is part of what Yourcenar meant when she said one had to be forty in order to attempt certain books.... She says in an afterword to the novel that in order to appreciate Hadrian’s struggle with time—the reversals, the accidents—she had to undergo the same struggles, among which her ten-year writing block no doubt figured heavily in her mind. “Hadrian” can be seen as her solution, the same one offered by Proust, whose work she loved. Art redeems us from time: in Hadrian’s case, by shaping his life into a meaningful curve (ambition to mastery to exaltation to disaster to reconciliation); in Yourcenar’s case, by enabling her to do that shaping, and in the process to write her first great novel, to save her own life."

- The New Yorker

PHILOSOPHY
With Matt Wagstaffe & Kevin Cassem
Tuesday, May 5th at 7pm.

The zany, the cute, and the interesting saturate postmodern culture. They dominate the look of its art and commodities as well as our discourse about the ambivalent feelings these objects often inspire. In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime.

This month, the group will discuss the introduction and Chapter 1, "The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde" (though p.109).


SMALL BUSINESS
With Henry Bell
Tuesday, April 14th at 7pm.

Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.

SPANISH BOOKCLUB

With Javier Molea

Friday, June 19th, 7pm

 

Cuando apenas llevamos unas páginas leídas ya sabemos que el coronel será uno de esos personajes inolvidables. Y que Coronel Lágrimas, la novela que no sabíamos que estábamos esperando desde hacía mucho tiempo. Al principio, este «alocado catálogo megalomaníaco de vidas ajenas» solo parece ser la escritura de los «Retratos de Tres Divas Alquímicas»: Anna María Zieglerin, María la Profetisa -también conocida como la Hija de Platón- y Cayetana Boamante.

Ricardo Baixeiras