Monthly Archives: February 2013

Douglas Hofstadter’s “Gödel, Escher, Bach” and Music as a Formal System – Robert Sparks

This semester I am co-moderating a reading group on Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach with a friend. The book’s topics seemed to be a perfect combination of my interest in music and his interest in mathematics. We have only discussed the first few chapters of the book so far, but in our discussion I began […]

Edith Hamilton’s “The Way of the East and the West in Art” – William Lonn

The beginning of Edith Hamilton’s The Greek Way is an argument for Greek exceptionalism. Greek civilization achieved a level of unparalleled proficiency in philosophy, art, and architecture because it was entirely different from all societies that came before it and everything that would follow. Hamilton proposes that, for the first time in human history, people […]

Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” – Evan DeFilippis

Breakfast of Champions is the quintessential Vonnegut piece: the book is punctuated with pithy phrases, short, staccato sentences that underpin profound social commentary, hilarious anecdotes, and irrelevant trivia. The story consists of two main characters, Kilgore Trout and Dwayne Hoover. Kilgore Trout is a relatively unsuccessful science fiction writer. Dwayne Hoover is an incredibly rich […]

Richard Feynman’s “Conservation of Energy” – Sarah Smith

You have to know—I don’t speak physics. I read books about life and humans and humanity and I speculate, personally and communally, about what the author meant and why and what I feel about it. So when Feynman approached me, I knew the terms he was using (“energy”, “conservation of energy”, “gravitational”, “potential”, “mechanism”), but […]

George Steiner’s “Errata” – Ben Clark

Doubtless, college is an interesting institution, and like all statements that begin as such, this statement is beset by doubt, evinced, perhaps, by those lifers of the Greek variety. Entertain then the notion that college is an interesting place. What makes it so? A tautology: interesting people make college interesting. So what makes them that way? […]

Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” – Lindsay Gardner

I had my first encounter with William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew as aseventh grader. I vaguely recall puppets, an overexcited student teacher and being forced to “act” with my classmates. Needless to say, it did not end well. As a thirteen-year-old reading the play in English class in Columbus, Ohio, I felt I […]