Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Summer Reading

Today is my second official day of summer vacation. Now that the academic year is complete I get to figure out what to read over the summer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much reading in over the past year as I spent a good deal of time developing and teaching a new course, Science of Sound, along with a bunch of new assessment work (the ISO 9000 of academia). Consequently, many of these books are items that I had intended to read some time ago. Perhaps I’m not going too far out on a limb to suggest that there aren’t a lot of people who’d be happy to curl up in an Adirondack cabin on a rainy afternoon with any of these titles. In no particular oder:

Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook 4E by Douglas Self. I’ve been teaching a discrete amplifier design course for about 25 years and virtually all of the texts I have seen use the same treatment. My quick scan of Self’s book indicates about 450 pages of interesting design philosophy and techniques, most of which are probably way over the heads of my sophomores.

High Performance Loudspeakers 6E by Martin Colloms. I read the second edition back in ’81 and missed editions three through five. The sixth dwarfs my faded second edition. I wonder what Mr. Colloms has included since the days when the KEF 105 was the feline’s sleepwear?

Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett. I never was one for witchcraft.

The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. Nature? Nurture? Neuter?

God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. A bit obvious perhaps, but my sister picked this up and promised to lend it to me when she finished it.

And, for what seems like the 87th year in a row, if I get around to it I’ll finish (actually, restart and finish) Milton’s Paradise Lost. Always good to have a classic in there.


  1. #1 Larry Moran
    May 30, 2007

    In my department we often joke about the so-called “summer vacation” that Professors get. We make fun of students who think that Professors don’t do anything unless they’re teaching an undergraduate course. None of us know any Professors who get a three or four month summer vacation.

    Until now, that is. Do you really refer to the time between when classes end in May and when they start in September as a “vacation?”

  2. #2 JimFiore
    May 30, 2007

    Yes, I refer to the approximate 2 month period (we go back in mid-August) as “vacation”. That’s more accurately described as “a vacation from lecturing and correcting student work”. It certainly doesn’t mean I’m sitting around with my feet up eating bon-bons! I actually get quite a bit of work done during the summer, and in all honesty, without it I’d probably go crazy.

  3. #3 Derelict
    May 31, 2007

    I haven’t read the Hitchens book but I have enjoyed his recent interviews promoting the book

    Hitchens on the Dennis Prager Show


    Hitchens debates Al Sharpton.


    As someone else summed this up…”Sharpton was smart not to engage Hitchens in a debate on the merits of Christianity in this debate, though it looks pretty bad when a high profile “reverend” refuses to make any effort to defend the Christian concept of God and instead takes the position of an agnostic deist, hoping no one would notice.”

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