Prem Chandavarkar on Wed, 3 Mar 2004 14:31:28 +0100 (CET)

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RE: <nettime> what would be nettime's reading list?

Rather than a definitive list of books (which implies that there is a
starting and end point to reading) I would first emphasise the importance of
the continuing impulse to read.  In the movie 'Shadowlands' which is based
on the life of C.S. Lewis, a student of Lewis makes the profound remark "We
read in order to know that we are not alone".  The act of reading forces us
to shift out of our own eyes and adopt the eyes of another, to move out of
the comfort zone of our life and step into the unknown space of the book.
The step away from our life and the return to it is a cycle of renewal and
it its essential that we constantly repeat it.

So having said this I will propose a list - not a list that should rank on a
scale of importance.  I only share a list of books that have influenced me.

First to endorse the point made by Alan Sondheim that we must question
canon, genre, essentialism - some early influences in my life are:
Hayden White: "The Tropics of Discourse" - a collection of essays that
shattered my perception of history as a canonical form of truth, and
revealed the literary and artistic devices used in the writing of history.

Jean-Francois Lyotard: "The PostModern Condition"

Jacque Derrida: "Of Grammatology" (although I must confess I found the book
rather dense and impenetrable and had to rely on only reading some excerpts
together with commentaries on the book by others who used a more accessible

Some more recent influences in my life:

Jeanette Winterson: "Art Objects - Essays in Ecstacy and Effrontery"

Italo Calvino: 2 books - "Invisible Cities" and "Six Memos for the New

Lawrence Lessig: 2 books - "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace" and "The
Future of Ideas".

Huston Smith: 2 books - "The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions"
and "Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition"

Michael Polanyi:  3 books - "The Tacit Dimension", "Personal Knowledge"
and/or the last book "Meaning" which summarises his philosophy.

Steven Johnson: "Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and

Wolfgang Sachs (ed): "The Development Dictionary"

John Allen Paulos: "A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper"

Etienne Wenger: "Communities of Practice"

Albert Laszlo Barabasi: "Linked: The New Science of Networks".

Bernard Lietaer: "The Future of Money"

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