Summer Reading, or, How to be an Educated Person : LUSENET : Utopia : One Thread

In class, Preethi suggested we all make recommendations of our favorite books, or ones that have particularly influenced our lives. I thought this would be the perfect place to do that.

Also, I'd like to know which book or paper from our own class has most influenced your thinking. I personally am going to site Ecotopia here, but my favorite "outside" book is going to require some consideration. I'll let you know. ;)

Incidentally, thanks to everyone who's just joined the discussion (Todd, Alexa, and Chris, last I checked). I hope we'll keep it up over the summer, and beyond. I'll send out another note to everyone in a week or so, when the dust of exams has settled and I'm over this nasty cold.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2000


Hope ya get over the cold, Ian.

The basic principles of my utopia were kind of set fromt the start, but as for ways of fleshing them out into a society, and influences on my thinking in general, I'd say my biggest was Looking Backward. A society where everyone was taken care of, where everybody contributed, where people were free to pursue their own interests, where everybody had to serve, etc.

As for favorite books, I'd have to say Wuthering Heights takes the cake. Memorable, flawed characters. Passionate love. Death. Hints at the supernatural. What's not to like? I just got wrapped up in the struggles of the two families and the one lone outsider...the indomitable Heathcliff.

I'm also big on Death of a Salesman. It helped me see that everybody, even unlikeable people and people whom I previously only associated with a function, are actually PEOPLE. Just like me. Deserving of my respect and sympathy.

Lastly, as if you wouldn't expect it, I cite the Bible. Turned my life around. Gave me meaning and fulfillment. And, it was the first thing that made me decide not to settle for being comfortable. My definition of "success" no longer had anything to do with money, and had everything to do with serving people and God. It brought me to the conclusion that I reach in my utopia: I will NOT waste my life on myself. There's no joy to be reached there.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2000

okay, first off, I'd have to say that the book from the seminar that really got my blood pumping was the Communist Manifesto (that was probably obvious). I had never had the chance to read it, and the ideas in there seem so PRACTICAL! Along with that, I really liked Herland a lot, and I thought that Ecotopia had some great ideas in it as well. There are a ton of books that I could suggest, so I'll just give the list. If anyone has questions, write me and ask away.

Beyond Good and Evil, Frederich Neitzche Ulyesses, James Joyce The Illuminatus Trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson (can't remember the coauthor) (this book kind of parodies or rips off ulyesses, but it is really funny, a little pornographic [a lot more than ecotopia, Ben], and rather thought provoking. if you get into it, you'll never trust anyone again ;) if you read it and like it though, let me know) The Origin of Virtue (can't remember author) The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand Hamlet (duh)

Of late, I've also been enjoying the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft. That dude is disturbed, so of course he writes some great horror.

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2000

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