Think about stuff

I was tidying the shelves in the Living Room at Central Library when I ran across a book called Tattoos: I Ink Therefore I Am. I read through the chapter titles: “How to ReadTattoos--I Ink Therefore I Am book cover image a Tattoo, and Other Perilous Quests,” “Tattoo You,” “To Ink or Not to Ink,” “The Vice of the Tough Tattoo.” Other sections discuss the history of tattooing and issues people have with tattoos and why. This is a serious book, but also fun and it made me think about something I don’t usually give much attention to. It’s part of a series called Philosophy for Everyone (edited by Fritz Allhoff) and there are 19 of these great little books so far. No longer is philosophy confined to huge questions like “What is the meaning of life?” or “Is this reality?” Take a few minutes and contemplate the equally important everyday issues.

Did you ever take the time, for instance, (other than first thing in the morning) to think about coffee? According to Kristopher G. Phillips, the “unexamined cup is not worth Coffee--Grounds for Debate book cover imagedrinking” (p. 34). If you read Coffee: Grounds for Debate, you can get great “sage advice from Ben’s mom” on “the value of the coffeehouse” (p. 73). This thought-provoking series explores the history of ideas about aspects of life that matter to us and also the huge questions of right and wrong that we often let slide. However, we don’t all subscribe to the same ethic in many cases and these instances crop up unexpectedly in the areas of law, religion, politics, war and entertainment: the thinking person’s territory.

At first glance the book Climbing: Because It’s There seems superfluous to those of us with feet planted on the ground. To those who climb, however, it’s interesting to think about why climbers risk their necks hanging upside down from sheer precipices. Brian Treanor’s essay, “High Aspirations: Climbing and Self-Cultivation” may put words to the general feeling that climbers are doing something good for themselves.

Do you want to ensure a good dating experience? Take a look at Dating: Flirting with Big Ideas. Hone your instincts by readingDating--Flirting with Big Ideas book cover image the essays “The Dating Elevator: Pushing the Right Buttons and Moving from Floor to Floor” by John Rowan and “Just Pushy Enough” by Anne Barnhill. These writers have intellectual chops, as does Dan Silber whose thoughts on “How to Be Yourself in an Online World” helps us curb that instinct to pretend we are intellectually superior humans with pro athlete physiques/Barbie’s curves.

And for the upcoming holiday season, consider Christmas: Better Than a Lump of Coal. Contributors to this volume of the series aren’t interested in winning anyone over to the religious aspects of Christmas. Instead readers are asked to consider whether celebrating Christmas is a good idea at all and why a modern parent would emphasize what one author dubs “the Santa surveillance system” in a semi-serious section on the Santa Claus myth, “Making a List, Checking it Twice.”

A clever series on philosophy that exercises regular brains like mine: what a welcome novelty! Enjoy some entertaining essays and think about stuff you haven’t considered before.

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2 Responses to Think about stuff

  1. I was reading the Shelf Talk for adults page that recommends titles in the Philosophy for everyone series. The site lists titles that the library does not own, is this typical?

    I would think that you would list books that I could check out from the library. An example is the title The Dating Elevator: Pushing the Right Buttons and Moving from Floor to Floor” by John Rowan. I checked the catalog and could not find this title.

    Does Seattle Public Library own copies of this title? If not then I think it would be helpful to either not list it in Shelf Talk, or state that it is not owned by the library.

  2. jen baker says:

    Hi and thanks for asking. The sub-headings in quotes are the names of essays within the books linked to our library catalog in the post. You can hone your instincts by reading the essays, like “Making a List, Checking it Twice” in the book called Christmas: Better Than a Lump of Coal, or “High Aspirations: Climbing and Self-Cultivation” in the book called Climbing: Because it’s There. The Library owns all the books mentioned in this post.

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