Summer Reading, vol. 5: Bo Adams

Thanks for joining us for the fifth installment of our summer reading series! This week, we spoke with Bo Adams, Head of Public Services and Reference and Systems Librarian at Pitts. This means that Bo manages the front-facing side of library operations, including the reference and circulation teams.  In addition to holding a PhD in New Testament from Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, he also has a background in computer science that helps him run the many library systems and certainly influenced his final book suggestion.

First on Bo’s list is a short but sweet read on the act of reading itself: Alan Jacobs’ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford UP, 2011). Jacobs is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University. According to Bo, this text “invites readers to reflect on the benefits of the physical act of reading, which extend far beyond the information one may learn from a book.” Although this might lead some to shun new gadgets in favor of older reading technologies, Bo suggests the goal is really to “be intentional in finding times of solitude, reflection, and joy that are often lost in the digital age.” Perhaps most importantly, Jacobs’ exhortation to “Read what gives you delight—at least most of the time—and do so without shame,” may be a helpful reminder to seminary students faced with long reading lists in the coming semester!

Second, we would be remiss if we didn’t add at least one reading suggestion that honored 2017, the 500th anniversary year of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses. Among the many excellent options in this field, Bo particularly suggests Andrew Petegree’s Brand Luther (Penguin, 2015).  In addition to being a readable account of this fascinating period, Petegree’s work focuses on the vital role that printing and publishing played in the spread of Luther’s ideas. As Bo says, “it provides a history of the Reformation that doesn’t read like a history of the Reformation!”

Finally, for the tech nerds among us, Bo is just finishing up this biography of Alan Turing: The Man Who Knew too Much, Alan Turing and the Inventing of the Computer, by David Leavitt. You may have watched the “Imitation Game” movie, but this biography will delve deeper into the scientific and mathematical genius behind Turing’s many achievements. Be forewarned, there is lots of math in this read, but it is well worth the effort!

Thanks Bo, and stay tuned next week for suggestions from Dr. Jehu Hanciles, D.W and Ruth Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity at Candler!

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