Sunday, September 26, 2004

Summer Reading 8

Lysis, Euthyphro, Apology, Crito by Plato
Memorabilia by Xenophon

My first time reading Lysis and Memorabilia.

My first time really thinking about the Apology of Plato. The Apology poses this central question to the reader: Is the apology of Socrates successful? If you know the story, you know that Socrates is condemned to death, but I do not think that indicates a failure on Socrates's part. (It may or may not indicate success. I don't know.) A limitation, perhaps, but not necessarily a failure. Why? Well, let us ask the following: Could Socrates have been successful and yet lost his court case and been condemned to death? [NB: the decision to find Socrates guilty is distinct from the decision to condemn him to death.] This forces us to ask what success would mean to Socrates, and thus we are forced to answer the question What is the good life? I think that is what the Apology is about. Is the good life the philosophical life? The religious life? The political life?

The good (and oft infuriating) thing about reading Plato is that one leaves with questions and not answers. But one hopes that one has learned to ask better questions.

The good thing about reading Xenophon is that it's not Plato or "Plato's Socrates." Xenophon gets bad press, undeservedly, because he seems dull. Is Xenophon as stupid as he seems? That's the million-dollar question.

BMCR has a review of the edition of Memorabilia I read. I couldn't find a peer-reviewed review of the translation of Apology, Euthyphro, and Crito, but the comments from the readers at Amazon were quite insightful. I could find no peer-reviewed or Amazon-reviewed reviews of the translation of Lysis I read.

One last thought for now. The Apology is a text usually taught in introduction to philosophy courses as an example of Plato's writing and thought, but the Apology is highly atypical in Plato's corpus. It is one of the few Platonic writings that is not really a dialogue. It is (for the most part) a Socratic monologue. To present it to first-time readers of Plato as representative of his work is misleading. Perhaps it's better to start with something like the Lysis, though that suggestion is not likely to get far in philosophy departments since the Lysis has no overt philosophical content. Perhaps this is to the detriment of philosophy departments.

Summer Reading 7

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

At first glance this book looks like ancient Chinese or Japanese wisdom literature. It's not. It was written in the mid-nineteenth century in English by Okakura, a Japanese man, who was curator of Chinese and Japanese art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This is not to denigrate Okakura, but the book cannot really hold a candle to, say, Confucius. Of course, Okakura gladly admitted this. His goal in writing the book was to preserve and defend the Japanese heritage of art. He does this by presenting the Japanese aesthetic as ornamently and plainly as possible. The proper path between ornament and plainness is where one finds the Japanese aesthetic, at least the Japanese aesthetic of which Okakura speaks.

The Japanese aesthetic is essentially one of refined taste. The tea ceremony, with its understated elegance, is the central symbol of the text, but, as Okakura admits, the tea ceremony exists for the tea master. It is the tea master who has the proper aesthetic knowledge of art and other beautiful things. The many, who have unrefined tastes, are completely ignorant of the serenity and beauty with which the tea master is in daily communion.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Summer Reading 6

The Unity of Philosophical Experience by Etienne Gilson

This book was recommended to me by a former professor. I had asked him what constitutes a knowledge tradition, and he recommended this book, among others, as a starting place. The book takes the form of a selective history of philosophy beginning with Medieval philosophy and ending with commentary on the state of the art as it looked in 1937 when Gilson wrote the book. The book has four main parts. The first three cover "The Medieval Experiment," "The Cartesian Experiment," and "The Modern Experiment." A concluding chapter ("The Nature and Unity of Philosophical Experience") ties together the themes of the book and explains Gilson's selectivity in his history of philosophy.

There are two main thoughts developed in the book. First, that there is a unique philosophical experience. Second, that there is something that unifies that philosophical experience.

What is philosophical experience? First, it's an experience. (Duh.) Now think of an experience of seeing a red book. It is a perceptual experience, and there is something to the experience that singles it out from all other experiences. What that something is is a matter of debate among philosophers, but that's not of interest to us here. Now think about what it might mean to have a philosophical experience instead of a perceptual experience (or an auditory experience, or gastronomic experience, or religious experience, etc.). What sorts of things are going to be involved in a philosophical experience? In the perceptual experience, things like color and shape and vision are parts of the experience, and we would say that the central part of the perceptual experience is that you experience the seeing of something. What brings together all the parts of that experience into one experience is your seeing the red book.

But now what is the unity of philosophical experience? Gilson says that it is Being. It is Being because only Being can be the "cause" of the laws (or, to put it another way, justify the conclusions) that can be inferred from Gilson's survey of philosophical experience. There are a number of these laws or conclusions. I'll just quote from Gilson (his words are in blue).

Philosophy always buries its undertakers.

By his very nature, man is a metaphysical animal.

Metaphysics is the knowledge gathered by a naturally transcendent reason in its search for the first principles, or first causes, of what is given in sensible experience.

As metaphysics aims at transcending all particular knowledge, no particular science is competent either to solve metaphysical problems, or to judge their metaphysical solutions.

The failures of the metaphysicians flow from their unguarded use of a principle of unity present in the human mind.

Since being is the first principle of all human knowledge, it is a fortiori the first principle of metaphysics.

All the failures of metaphysics should be traced to the fact, that the first principle of human knowledge has been either overlooked or misused by the metaphysicians.

Since philosophical experience is an experience, it cannot be adequately captured in words (just like I could not really capture the perceptual experience in words). The bulk of Gilson's book is designed to illustrate the philosophical experience by tracing the fate of certain philosophical ideas through history. He argues that the three greatest metaphysicians--Plato, Aristotle, and St. Thomas--came closest to expressing a pure philosophical experience in their philosophy because they understood that philosophy must be done philosophically. That might sound like a truism, but Gilson's history illustrates how easy it is to miss that truth. Descartes, for example, missed it when he attempted to solve philosophical problems by mathematical method. As soon as Descartes tried to substitute mathematics for philosophy, his failure was certain. The same was true for Ockham's use of logic, Kant's use of physics, and Comte's use of sociology. Each of them tempered the philosophical experience with some other kind of experience--the mathematical, logical, etc. The result of this tempering led Descartes, Ockham, et al. to neglect Being, to the detriment of their philosophy. This is not to say that Descartes's philosophy is not philosophy at all, but that his philosophy is flawed because it neglects the unifying principle of philosophy, namely, Being.

I think, when supplemented with some primary texts in philosophy, this would make an excellent book for an introduction to philosophy class. It is not a comprehensive history, but I don't think a comprehensive work would necessarily be the best work for such a class. In fact, such a work might even neglect Gilson's lesson.

Summer Reading 5

The Underground History of American Education and Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

John Taylor Gatto was New York State and City teacher of the year about ten years ago. Then he quit teaching, after thirty years, because he was fed up with the public school system. I picked up this book because (a) it was recommended to me by a respectable person, and (b) some day I will probably have children who will need to be educated. I've always had suspicions about the public school system, but Gatto's book is an eye opener. If even half of what he argues for in UHAE is true, I will never send my children to a public school, even a good one. This isn't to say that Gatto is a sloppy thinker or doesn't support his argument. It's just that what Gatto argues for really goes against the grain of conventional wisdom about schooling.

So what is Gatto's thesis? There are actually a number of them, and what follows is not exhaustive.

(1) Public schooling was designed (that's important, it was designed) to "remove all significant functions from home and family life except its role as dormitory and casual companionship" (p. 380). In other words, public schools were designed to erode the natural bonds between parent and child and replace them with artificial bonds between the state and the child.

(2) The motivating thesis of compulsory schooling, that "the certified expertise of official schoolteachers is superior in its knowledge of children to the accomplishments of lay people, including parents," is false (p. 384).

(3) Schooling is both very expensive and results in dispirited children; education is practically free and results in free, independent human beings. The difference between schooling, which may or may not coincide with education, and education, which can be done without schooling, is enormous. The degree in "education" that is so eagerly obtained in many colleges and universities is really a degree in "schooling." I cannot spell out the full difference between education and schooling here. Read the book.

(4) "Mass dumbness first had to be imagined, it isn't real" (p. xxxi). School makes people dumb, not smart.

(5) The way things are now is not the result of some vast conspiracy. Instead, "we are held fast by a form of highly abstract thinking fully concretized in human institutions which was grown beyond the power of the managers of these institutions to control" (p. xxxiii).

Gatto gives a plausible argument for each of these theses by drawing on materials available in mainstream scholarship. I think it helps his case that he doesn't refer to very many, if any, "conspiracy books" to make his case. He pins most of the blame on Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Morgan for financing the compulsory school experiment with the full knowledge of what the schools would produce: dumbed-down assembly line workers with little independent spirit.

UHAE is about 400 pages long. I'm still thinking over the main arguments of the book and reading certain sections over again, so I cannot offer very many criticisms of it. One thing that I will say is that Plato draws a lot of fire from Gatto for providing the ideology of an organized, planned state. I think he's missed the boat on Plato there, but so did the people Gatto criticizes (like Carnegie, et al.). I think Gatto may realize this, or at least he would if he reflected on a quotation from Plato he includes in the book: "Nothing of value to the individual happens by coercion" (p. 384). This quotation runs contrary to all the other citations of Plato in UHAE, and Gatto must surely have noticed this. John Calvin also comes in for a lot of criticism, some of it unjustified in my opinion.

Dumbing us Down is a collection of lectures and papers given by Gatto and one time or another. Much of it is reprinted almost verbatim in UHAE, but UHAE is much more comprehensive in its attempt to understand the history of American schooling. Dumbing us Down can be read in a few hours and is more readily available in stores than UHAE. Read one or both of these books if you want to educate your children well. (The full text of UHAE is available online.)

Monday, September 20, 2004


Does anyone have any advice on how to properly fold a fitted bedsheet? I just finished the laundry, and everytime I try to fold a fitted sheet it just looks like a big, lumpy ball.

Leo Strauss, Born September 20, 1899

"The flight to immortality requires an extreme discretion in the selection of one's luggage." (Persecution and the Art of Writing)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Summer Reading 4

The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture edited by Hal Foster

Another book on a class reading list; this one is a collection of nine essays with a preface by the editor.

Since I'm not a big fan of things with the postmodern label, I would not have picked this up on my own. As presented by the contributors to this book (with the exception of Habermas), postmodernism is a critique of modern ideals of rationality. While reading the book, I had the occasional thought that "Well, I could be wrong about the importance and high value of reason. But really? Hard to think so."

I am thankful for the challenges the book presented, but I have two competing beliefs about postmodernism. The first is that since postmodernism in general (if there is such a thing) seems to be the best contemporary challenge to philosophy as conceived by Socrates and therefore merits serious study and attention in order to meet that challenge. The second belief is that postmodernism is positively irrational and therefore hard to take seriously. Of course, these two beliefs are connected by the nature of postmodernism as a philosophy or ideology or archeology or whatever that subverts modern (and ancient and medieval) rationality. Note that this last sentence itself expresses the controversy, since most postmodernists deny that things have real natures.

Since I don't get the appeal of postmodern writing style, I'll just describe some thoughts on Craig Owens's article, "The Discourse of Others: Feminists and Postmodernism."

In Owens's chapter, it's difficult to tell if Owens is making an argument, trying to make an argument, or just opining. For example, this is what I think is Owens's summary of his chapter:

Here, we arrive at an apparent crossing of the feminist critique of patriarchy and the postmodernist critique of representation; this essay is a provisional attempt to explore the implications of that intersection.

In the first part of this, we have two things before us: the feminist critique of patriarchy and the postmodernist critique of representation. It seems highly unlikely that there is only one feminist critique of patriarchy and only one postmodernist critique of representation, but the definite articles modifying those phrases seem to indicate that there is only one of each. As to the merits or demerits of the feminist critique of patriarchy and the postmodernist critique of representation, we are left in the dark. There are some claims made before this statement about these critiques, but no defense of the claim that they are defensible or even sensible critiques. Also note that the crossing of these two things is "apparent." This indicates that Owens is hedging his bets about his thesis. This becomes clearer when you look at the next part, which includes the assertion that the two critiques intersect. We have gone from an apparent crossing to an intersection without an explanation of why the crossing was only apparent in the first place or why it is no longer so.

Notice that when the essayist should be at his clearest, the point where he states the purpose of the essay, Owens utilizes metaphors and provides only a vague sense of what his purpose is. Consider it this way. Owens says that he has written an "essay," which is a "provisional attempt" to "explore" the "implications" of the "intersections" of the feminist critique of patriarchy and the postmodernist critique of representation. Now an essay is something with which I have some familiarity, but what about the other phrases? Well, I know what all of the other words mean, and in other contexts their meaning is fairly clear. For example, if my friend asks me to go "explore" a cave, I have a good idea what to expect if I agree. There may be some variations (e.g., we might just walk about a cave, or we might need more serious spelunking gear such as ropes and headlamps), but what we'll be doing is fairly clear. We won't, for example, be skydiving. I think Owens is being metaphorical with his use of "explore," which is fine, but when what we are exploring are "implications" of an "intersection" of two sets of opinions held by Owens to be a critique of "patriarchy" and "representation," a little clarification would be appropriate (if the goal is to communicate clearly with the reader).

I comment on this because such vagueness is characteristic of the writing in the book, to greater and lesser degrees in each author, and although unclarity does not plague only postmodern writing, the cynic in me wants to say that unclarity is a necessary condition of postmodern writing.

I also found curious the inclusion of a chapter by Edward Said, whom I would not have considered to be postmodern. (Is Noam Chomsky postmodern then, too?) Contrary to the other chapters, I found the chapter by Said particularly lucid, though that may itself be because Said's chapter was right after a bunch of mumbo-jumbo (that's a technical philosophical term) by Jean Baudrillard.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Michigan Football

Just watched Michigan get trounced by Notre Dame. Ouch. The final score wasn't too bad, but watching Notre Dame come from behind in the third quarter was awful. As always, there's still the Big Ten championship to shoot for, but you know when Michigan fans start saying that that it wasn't a good game.

Summer Reading 3

Art and Nonart and Basic Issues in Aesthetics by Marcia Muelder Eaton

The second of these books was on a reading list for a class I'm taking this fall. I picked up the first book just to see what else Eaton had written. I'll discuss Art and Nonart since the other is only a survey.

Art and Nonart appears to be some form of Eaton's dissertation. It reads like a dissertation (i.e., a bit dry) and is structured like one, too. The basic task of the book is to find a definition of art that will allow us to make a principled distinction between art and nonart. Eaton surveys a number of different ways to try to define art, and she finds each of them lacking. This material is presented in greater length in Basic Issues in Aesthetics, which provides a good survey of the field as it stood in 1987.

In Art and Nonart, Eaton's definition of art is as follows:

"x is a work of art if and only if (1) x is an artifact and (2) x is discussed in such a way that information concerning the history of production of x directs the viewer's attention to properties which are worth attending to."

(1) is accepted by pretty much everyone. Even though sunsets are beautiful, most people do not consider them to be works of art. There are some issues to be cleared up on this topic (e.g., when, if ever, can artifacts such as sticks or stones be considered art?), but for the most part (1) is noncontroversial.

(2) is where the philosophical action is at. There are four basic parts to (2).

(a) x is discussed
(b) information concerning the history of production of x
(c) directs the viewer's attention
(d) properties which are worth attending to

Regarding (a): This seems to be Eaton's innovation in philosophical aesthetics. She places quite a bit of emphasis on the fact that x must be discussed in order for it to be considered a work of art. On this issue, she makes a good response to the critic who says that her definition entails that history and criticism are more important than creation. Not at all, says Eaton: "no claim about importance is being made at all. A feature of an organism may not be the most important or interesting thing about it, but nevertheless may serve to distinguish it from other organisms" (p. 116).

Regarding (b): By bringing in "the history of production" to her definition, Eaton casts her lot at least partially with what is called the "contextualist" camp. Like the name implies, contextualist theories of art make reference to a context in order to define a thing as a work of art. Contextualist theories are in general opposed to formalist theories (i.e., theories in which only features of the work of art itself figure prominently in a definition of art). So, for example, in thinking about a painting, according to Eaton we should take into account "information concerning the history of production."

Regarding (c): Eaton says relatively little about what she means by "direct the viewer's attention." Perhaps she thinks it is obvious what is meant. Perhaps it is, and right now I have nothing to criticize her theory on these grounds. But I suspect more could be said and that this could turn into a really sticky issue.

Regarding (d): The information about the history of production must direct our attention to "properties which are worth attending to." These properties which are worth attending to must be intrinsic to the work of art; that is, they must be perceivable. So Eaton's definition is not solely contextualist; it stipulates that the context must direct our attention to intrinsic properties of the work of art. These intrinsic properties in turn must be "worth attending to," a phrase that, for Eaton, essentially boils down to "gives us aesthetic satisfaction," and these properties are not necessarily fixed. They can vary from tradition to tradition.

One upshot of Eaton's definition is that something like Duchamp's urinal should be considered a work of art. She states, "Not everyone sees the urinal as a work of art. But when enough people do, it becomes one. The important thing here is not to try to decide what the precise point is when an object or event becomes a work of art, but to realize that being seen as a work entails that we discuss it in certain ways, and look at it in certain ways, upon learning something about its history of production. Why are football games not works of art? Because they are not discussed mainly in aesthetic terms. They could be, and if they were, they would become works of art" (p. 118).

This strikes me as a defect in her view. My common sense position is that urinals are not works of art regardless of the manner in which they are discussed. People who discuss urinals as if they were works of art are behaving very silly. I have no defense of this view right now and am willing to admit that, in light of the absence of such a defense, that Eaton is probably correct.

Art and Nonart closes with a chapter on distinguishing good art from bad, or better from worse. It includes a case study comparing Jan Vermeer with Norman Rockwell, in which Eaton concludes that Rockwell's art (and she thinks it is art) is not as good as Vermeer's because its affect is "cheaply achieved" (p. 149) (i.e., his symbolism is direct and obvious).

Monday, September 06, 2004

Summer Reading 2

The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum

I decided to read these books because I really liked the movie versions of the first two. (Will there be a movie version of the third? Who knows.) Also, I needed some mind candy kind of reading stuff, and this provided it. Blowing through a 500 page book in a day or two really boosts the reading confidence. It's a great contrast to laboring over ten pages of Plato a day.

Having said that, Robert Ludlum has got to be one of the worst best-selling authors of all time. Here's a blurb from Publishers Weekly:

"The literary faults and stylistic excessesthat characterized The Icarus Agenda, The Gemini Contenders and other of Ludlum's works are present in his latest mammoth thriller, but fans will nonetheless cheer the return of his most popular character, David Webb, aka Jason Bourne, the assassin who never was. . . . The Ludlum trademarks are present: improbable bloodbaths, repetitive action, stilted and off-the-point conversations and--most annoying--the use of italicized words or entire paragraphs to simulate passion. This is formula writing that delivers even less than its meager promise."

The only thing these books have going for them is plot. (Character development? What's that?) The plot of the BI and BS are better than the contrived BU. I found BS to hold up the best, since it has a pretty fast, intriguing, and believable plot and also lacks the most annoying scene in the Ludlum corpus, which occurs right in the middle of BU, a horrendous scene where Bourne's wife, allegedly a "strong female character," appears in Paris to help Bourne--she's supposed to be in a CIA safe house--and only succeeds in foiling Bourne's mission and getting his partner killed. And then everyone seems to just forget about what a moron she was.

Note to people who liked the movies: The plots deviate wildly from the books.

Summer Reading 1

Interpreting Plato by E. N. Tigerstedt (Uppsala, Sweden: Almquist & Wiksell, 1977)

I had hoped for more from this book since it was recommended by a scholar of Greek philosophy in response to my concern that I don't really know enough about the history of Plato interpretation. I was hoping for a comprehensive history of how Plato's writings have (or, in some cases, have not) been interpreted since ancient times. The book is, from what I can tell, an excellent book, but it does not aim to give such a comprehensive history. It focuses primarily on Plato interpretation of the last two hundred years, especially in English and German, with a few nods to French scholarship. Discussion of ancient and medieval interpretations of Plato are almost nonexistent in this book, though I should note that Tigerstedt has written another book, The Decline and Fall of the Neoplatonic Interpretation of Plato that may deal with those periods in detail. I have not read it, but plan to. I should also note that the book was written almost thirty years ago. One major strand of interpretation that Tigerstedt does not address is that of Gregory Vlastos and his progeny. Since Vlastos's writings on Plato have cast a very long shadow over Plato studies in the second half of the twentieth-century, it is unfortunate Tigerstedt's book does not discuss him.

The book is organized into seven chapters and a preface. Tigerstedt begins with "the problem" of interpreting Plato and then tracks and critiques proposed solutions to the problem. "The problem" turns out to be: it's really hard to figure out what the heck Plato's writings mean. Of course, this is true of many great philosophers (and nonphilosophers, too), but, says Tigerstedt, "The interpreters of, e.g., Aristotle, or Kant, or Hegel by no means always agree. But the controversies about Plato are far more radical and fundamental. What some scholars regard as a faithful picture of Plato the man and his philosophy, is to other scholars an outrageous caricature or a pure invention. The dispute between the various schools of Platonic interpreters is not confined to judgement and evaluation but concerns the very essence of Platonism" (p. 13).

There have been, in the past two hundred years, five basic approaches to Plato's texts. Tigerstedt in general finds fault with all of them, though he does have praise for a number of individual interpreters and interpretations.

The first approach is to decide that some of the dialogues are spurious. It's a pretty self-explanatory way of dealing with "the problem." Get rid of the dialogues that seem to cause the problem by arguing they are not genuine. Even though this approach hides behind scientific sounding methods of linguistic analysis, e.g., "stylometric analysis," there are many problems with the presuppositions of the analyzers.

Approach number two: admit that the "contradictions, gaps, obscurities, and ambiguities that worry the interpreters of Plato" (p. 22) are real, but attribute them to the fact that Plato could not reason logically or coherently (not least because Plato did not know about his most famous student's system of logic). Seems a bit overly simplistic. Tigerstedt gives a brief refutation of the two main proponents--Richard Robinson and I. M. Bochenski--of this view.

One of the most popular proposed solutions to the problem is, thirdly, the "genetic approach." Here's how it works: first assume that Plato's thought developed, roughly along the same lines of his biography, then chalk up the contradictions, gaps, obscurities, ambiguities, etc. of the dialogues to the fact that Plato's philosophy changed (and, according to most opinions, improved) as he got older. This solution stands in opposition to Schleiermacher's, which holds that Plato was in command of his entire philosophy from his first dialogue and only expounded it gradually for the sake of his readers/students. The genetic approach seems to be prevalent today under the influence of Vlastos. Tigerstedt's analysis of this approach alone makes the book worth reading, if only to make one aware of the faults of the genetic approach that go unchecked today.

The fourth proposed solution is to suggest a unity of Platonic thought. The unity can mean "the recurrence of certain fundamental problems whose solutions, however, may vary greatly, even change radically," or "the profession of certain general ideas, a Weltanschauung which does not exclude even important variations, contradictions, inconsistencies," or "a real, close-knit system" (p. 52).

Lastly, Tigerstedt dissects the Esoterists' approach. Like the name suggests, these interpreters seek to find the secret teaching of Plato, primarily through the use of secondary sources such as Aristotle, Albinus, Numenius, or later Platonists. There is some support for the claim that Plato had two teachings--one for the many and one for a few, trusted pupils--in the Phaedrus and the second and seventh letters, but one difficulty with this approach is that by focusing on the testimony of, say, Aristotle, it seems to ignore the dialogues themselves. It is important to note that today's so-called Straussian interpretations of Plato would not count as Esoterist according to Tigerstedt since they, for the most part, attempt to derive the hidden teaching of Plato by reading the dialogues and not by examining secondary sources. (One should also note that Tigerstedt favorably cites Strauss's essay, "On a New Interpretation of Plato's Political Philosophy," two or three times.)

Tigerstedt closes his book by suggesting that interpretation of Plato keep in mind a number of things. (1) Platonic irony. (2) The fact that there are two dialogues going on in any dialogue--one between the interlocutors (usually one of them is Socrates) and one between Plato and the reader. (3) The fact that Plato chose to write dialogues, as opposed to some other kind of work. (4) The fact that the author of the dialogues is officially anonymous, though unofficially everyone seems to have known it was Plato. (5) "Plato's works being what they are, there will always remain a margin of subjective interpretation, of error, far larger than in most other works. It is vain and dishonest to try to conceal this difficult from ourselves and others" (p. 107).

The footnotes of this book are very good even if unavoidably a bit dated.

The ISBN of this book is 9122000909, and I give it because it may be difficult to track the book down by title.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Summer Reading Recap

In the next few weeks, my posts will cover some of the books I've read this summer. My reading list for the summer didn't turn out just as I wanted it to, but I don't think I was a complete slacker. I won't rate the books by stars or thumbs-up, and my thoughts won't be presented as comprehensive book reviews.