For our final summer reading post in this blog series, we spoke with Dr. Bo Adams, Director of the Pitts Theology Library and Candler’s Margaret A. Pitts Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theological Bibliography! Bo holds a doctorate in New Testament studies from Emory, but also has a background in computer science, an interest you can see in his second suggestion.
But before we get to the technology, Bo’s first suggestion is the critically acclaimed memoir of neurosurgeon Paul Kalanthi, entitled When Breath Becomes Air. At the age of 35, Dr. Kalanthi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, which promoted him to record his thoughts on life and death as he battled the disease. Tragically, Dr. Kalanthi died in March 2015, but his wife made sure this beautiful memoir was published. You won’t want to miss this moving examination of life and what makes life worth living.
Bo’s second suggestion is, in his words, “a very astute defense of ‘distant reading’ as a legitimate enterprise in the digital age.” Indeed, Bo highly recommends a short article, entitled, Sacred Reading: From Augustine to Digital Humanists, written by Chad Wellmon, a professor of German at the University of Virginia. According to Bo, this piece “traces the development of close reading in the west, spending time reflecting on the understanding of reading as a technical and/or transformative act in figures like Plato, Augustine, Hugh, and Petrarch.” While it may not be the best poolside reading, this article offers us the opportunity to think about why and how we read, which, as Bo says, isn’t a bad idea as we head into the new semester in a few short weeks!
Thank you for joining us throughout the summer—please don’t hesitate to stop by the reference desk or get in touch if you’d like any other reading suggestions!