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Summer Reading Group (VoteCast)

Beginning June 15, the first Hermits Rock Summer Reading Group will convene around either Augustine’s City of God and/or The Confessions, or Hannah Arendt’s The Life of the Mind and/or The Human Condition. The book(s) will be decided upon by May 15, procured and begun by day 1.

It’s a summer group, and we’re all busy, so reading amounts will be reasonable and decided within the fortnight. Participants (hereafter, groupies) will be responsible for sections and/or themes, assigned randomly by me or by request. Groupies will be asked to write to his or her section and/or theme; how many words per entry, and likewise how often one writes in addition to assigned writing is up to each reader. The point is to inspire discussion, perhaps to explore a thesis or two, and to learn something new. The group’s end date will not be interminable—I’m shooting for a month-and-a-halfish—but will be decided after schedules are set.

All groupies—so far, L, JH, Scott (Hereafter known as S, shorthand), GKB, J, K, and I—will get a writing account for a new section at Hermits Rock, reading.hermitsrock.mgbales.com or hermitsrock.mgbales.com/reading (depends on how much time I get to set it up). To that end, if I don’t have your e-mail address, please drop us a line using the form at right or at hermitsrock [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll need it to set up your account. All addresses, in case you are worried, may be sold for the right price will be kept in strict confidence.

So, folks, bury the hatchet in the comments: Augustine or Arendt, one book or two? You’ve got a week.

For more information, see the previous discussion.



Up top has changed for the more definite! (The previous post by this title has been renamed “Summer Reading Group (Prospectus).”)

Before I go off to work, I’ll take the first shot: Even though I’ve long wanted to read Augustine at length, at the moment, I’m more disposed to reading both Arendt books than either CoG or Confessions. So I say Arendt.

And if you’re wondering what happened to Wild at Heart, I declare it’s out of print and can’t be read by us.

Am I to be the only one who votes?

oh sorry… i’ll get a vote to you this weekend…

i’m just now coming out from under the fog of end of semester papers.

From your silence, I know you’re all agonizing over this choice. I see I should’ve done a little more research earlier, but such as it is! Let’s take this one philosopher at a time.

On Hannah Arendt, from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Life of the Mind already is 2 volumes! Grr. I really want to read The Human Condition because of her definition of the _vita activa_ and her work to valorize political action. From the link above:

In The Human Condition and subsequent works, the task Arendt set herself is to save action and appearance, and with it the common life of the political and the values of opinion, from the depredations of the philosophers. By systematically elaborating what this vita activa might be said to entail, she hopes to reinstate the life of public and political action to apex of human goods and goals.

The Vita Activa: Labor, Work and Action

In The Human Condition Arendt argues for a tripartite division between the human activities of labor, work, and action. Moreover, she arranges these activities in an ascending hierarchy of importance, and identifies the overturning of this hierarchy as central to the eclipse of political freedom and responsibility which, for her, has come to characterize the modern age.

Yes, if we are to do Arendt, The Human Condition is fine by me.

And, the Confessions is fine by me, as well. I can always read that one over again.

and i think that this boswell book would be interesting

as would covering (and, at the moment, i am more inclined to covering. it says it’s a poetic memoir… and even if it’s marketing… i like poetic memoirs.)

this, too, might be interesting Truths in Church: Scandal, Flesh, and Christian Speech by mark d jordan

though i am still inclined to covering.

so, my vote is:


it looks to me like human condition should be req’d before reading life of the mind. the latter really follows.

my vote:


honestly, don’t care though. i’ll read anything, so long as it’s not constitutional law.

con.law got you down, S? Sure you don’t wanna read the federalist papers? :)

OT curiosity: how'd the sem end for you? was this your last, and what continent are you removing to?

OK, then, how about this: Arendt, Human Condition; and Yoshiro, Covering? I read the NYT article from Covering—it was pretty good. The two together might make a really intriguing contrast.

10 is just short of a declaration, by the way.

My vote is with Augustine.

Con law has always (and will always) have me down, I fear.

The term isn’t over yet, unfortunately. The joys of the quarter system mean not finishing for another 2 weeks. Off to the land of tea and crumpets for the summer, then back for one more quarter of school.

As someone in school in the land of tea and crumpets, I say stop your complaining, school doesn’t finish here for another 5 weeks!

(Starting the school year in October is pretty sweet though.)

You guys should have a Hermits Rock Meetup:London; then you can write back to tell us of all the fun we missed.

Hermits Rock, now with a London bureau!

That I like!

(Sorry for the silence and lateness here—again; I think I’m gonna change the above, and declare halfsies for fun’s sake, and reserve the book on covering for a future reading. Reasons for my lateness: a) moving research; b) boring work; c) Computer is again dying a death because the part I bought hasn’t withstood the test of time—probably because the problem wasn’t the part, but something else. So anyone want to buy me a Powerbook, vintage last year?)

I’ve weighed your votes carefully, but frankly, since none of you flibbertigibits came to any good consensus, I declare now that we’re reading 1) The Confessions of St. Augustine, and 2) Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition. The two will go together well (Arendt studied Augustine, you know). Check back later 2nite or (more likely) 2morrow morning for links to volumes-for-purchase (for the sake of our librarian readers: or for checkout at your local library) and a likely schedule. It’ll be fun!

so, is this a 2000 supreme court, weighed your votes carefully… a, vatican weighed your votes carefully… or have people actually contacted you to let you know their preferences?

saint augie and arendt are fine by me.

i do hope that jh, laura and other’s more doctored in the language than i will take up and read the book in latin… (or is jh going to say… sorry dude! i only do summarian and some egyptian…. and laura say, ancient greek, being a much more beautiful language than latin, is the one for which i burned the mid-night oil)

It’s English for me, all the way, just like the rest of the plebes. I never studied a lick of Latin, and my Greek is in a shameful state, not having used it since my last undergraduate final.

All hail the Hermit’s Rock summer reading, the choice of the people!

btw, jh, i didn’t mean to imply you were putting on english airs… however, should the word knappies ever issue forth from your keypad, i will understand you to be utterly lost and fully given over to all things british. the same goes for petrol, cooker, and the use of the adverb terribly to modify interesting.

i just said what i said because what do you say after someone has just proof-texted the entire OT?

Knappy really is a horrible word. I cringe a bit everytime I hear it. You won’t catch me using it with anyone other than Britons, nor shall you EVER see me affect the accent. I’ve met a few Americans here who do that, and it’s one of the most contemptible things I’ve ever seen.

awfully contemptible?

oh, come on now! just cuz maddona’s doing it not so well doesn’t mean you can’t give it the good ole oxbridge try!

Knappy is spelled with a k?

no, greg you are write and i am wrong, and i mislead jh… but, then again, we’ve always known that i can neither spell nor punctuate my way out of a bottle of everclear

just for the record….

i know that write is actually spelled right

oh, and one more thing, the tone in the last two posts should not be read as hot-bothered, but light-and-fluffy… even cuddly… but not in the sense of snogging

Whether or not you meant snogging, that’s how I took it, and I was totally flattered until you let me down.

That JH repeated the spelling is what threw me off. I assumed that he, Henry James knockoff that he is, knew definitively. Alas! It was not to be.

Ahh yes, knappy would then be the knappy of dirty south yore, “knappy hair?” Just shows what a poor Henry James knockoff I am. I should stick to my native dirty south.

When referring to the dirty south, one should always spell it “dirrty,” not “dirty”. The extra consonant makes all the difference.

I don’t belong anywhere, apparently, according to my spelling.