A number of us have been looking for excuses and/or opportunities to socialize with other members of the lsu_literati community or intelligent folks in general. I propose that we start a reading group that meets every other week off campus, at my apartment or in a coffee shop.
Some possibilities for books:
1) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman. This is a modern sociological classic. It looks at the way we present ourselves to others in terms of dramatic performances. Definitely of interest to everyone here, as livejournal is nothing except the presentation of self.
2) The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. This is a neo-conservative classic. Allan Bloom, the gay atheist uncle of neo-conservativism, wrote this book in response to attempts by colleges to diversify their courses, especially in the humanities. The quality of his arguments and prose style are matched only by his pomposity. Also, you can buy the book for under a dollar on Amazon.
3) Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard. This is perhaps the most pomo (postmodern) book EVER. Baudrillard argues that we have lost reality to simulation, that the world is now more fictitious than real. For the vulgar among us, you might want to read this book, as it was featured in The Matrix. Neo hid a floppy disk in a copy of the book (get it... the book isn't even a book... forget it).
4) Labyrinths by Jorge Borges. Though I would like to avoid ficciones, I'm putting this on the list because it is one of the best collections of short stories that I've read. Almost every French philosopher or culture theorist in the last forty years has dropped Borges's name at least ten times.
5) Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. This is a very very fashionable work of neo-marxist political thought. The authors are so far left that they make Michael Moore look like Pat Buchanan. Love it or hate it, it's an important and hefty book which is inspiring and will inspire a great deal of debate.
If anyone is interested in any of these works or has suggestions for other books (preferably challenging non-fiction or very very challenging fiction), please reply. I'd like to start this in the next two weeks if possible..