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Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview



Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
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ronald has commented on (6) products.

Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America by Christopher Turner
Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America

ronald, January 31, 2013

More of a biography of Wilhelm Reich and his contexts than a comprehensive history of the sexual revolution, this book is riveting, judicious, and extremely well researched.
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The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry

ronald, January 19, 2012

Another engrossing and fun read in the land of the strange and weird. Ronson is a master at writing about the extremes of human behavior while making his quest reliable, entertaining, and educating.
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The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

ronald, October 14, 2011

Sociologists have long had a reputation of being poor writers. This probably goes back at least to Talcott Parsons, who was full of jargon, discursive, unintelligible, and dismal. However, Erving Goffman is not only a sociologist with something profound and eerie to say, but one of the most distinctive stylists in the English language. He is everything Parsons was not. No one can duplicate his style, which is direct, sublime, and diamond-like. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was his first book and probably his masterpiece. It has never been out of print and has been continuously assigned to college students since its publication in 1959. It should not be read only by students. I have read it at least three times.

The book is difficult to describe. Goffman uses seemingly mundane (but fascinating and often funny) examples from everyday life to show how we act as if on a stage with roles to perform and many ways of performing them. It makes its points as much from Goffman's unique style as from what he leaves out (namely any discussion of whether there is anything more to face-to-face interaction than the comic-drama we act in). Summaries cannot do it justice. Be prepared for a wild ride, and, if you're sensitive, and willing to apply Goffmanesque insights to your own interactions with others, your I.Q. will increase by several points at least. You certainly will never experience human interaction the way you did before you read this amazing work.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P Pierce
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free

ronald, January 1, 2010

Chapter one is great: the creation museum has a dinosaur with a saddle on it!
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



Ghost World: A Screenplay
Ghost World: A Screenplay

ronald, November 1, 2008

Ghost World reads really well as a screenplay. It is an edition well worth having even if you own the original book by Clowes. I use it to improve my french and spanish by putting the DVD on in those languages and then following along in the English-language screenplay. Not everyone's cup of tea, perhaps, but it sure does beat memorizing verbs and congugating them.
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