The Werner Book Shelves

Everyone who knows me is aware that (perhaps next to laments concerning the fortunes of the Broncos, Rockies, Pirates, Avalanche, Brewers, Badgers and CC Tigers), the sentence you’re most likely to hear is “you ought to read [fill in the blank].”  At least a dozen times a year, I’ll concoct a reading lists about one topic or another.  The lists combine standards (some of which I’m not crazy about) and personal favorites, but the underlying purpose is to provide a sense of what’s going on in the conversation about topics that have interested me over the years.   I’ve limited each shelf to a dozen titles and, for the most part avoided duplicates.

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  • Shelf 1: A Kit for Critical Thinking

    For several years, I taught a course on “Critical Thinking and Expression.” I thought of the reading list as a kind ...
  • Shelf 2: Big Pictures

    If you keep yourself up late at night wondering about truly big questions—you know, what lies beyond the edge of the...
  • Shelf 1: Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy

    I was part of the Sputnik Generation, plucked from my neighborhood school and assigned to class designed to fast-tra...
  • Shelf 2: The Life Sciences

    The flip side of Shelf 2, tracking the story from the wee beasties in the primordial soup to the mysteries of the mi...
  • Shelf 3: The Two Cultures: Literature and Science

    When C.P. Snow, chemist and novelist, introduced the idea of a split between the “two cultures” of science and the h...
  • Shelf 1: U.S. History

    When I was growing up, my father made a point of telling me that his education in American history involved “m...
  • Shelf 2: The World

    World’s a big place.   This shelf combines the books I’ve found most useful in getting my bearings on th...
  • Shelf 3: Multicultural History

    When I was young, I thought of “race” in, literally, “black and white” terms, despite the fa...
  • Shelf 4: African American History

    More accurately, the history of the 20th Century African American Freedom Movement. You can find some of the deeper ...
  • Shelf 1: Sex and Gender

    I still shudder to reflect on just how unthinkingly I absorbed the straight patriarchal culture I grew up in.   I ow...
  • Shelf 2: Multicultural Voices

    The companion to Multicultural History, this shelf brings the history and sociology alive....
  • Shelf 3: How We Live

    I’ve always tilted towards books rather than essays or blogs when I want to get a beat on the technological, p...
  • Shelf 4: Spirituality and Religion

    Growing up in a church that I remember as having emphasized fear rather than love–others who attended the same...
  • Shelf 5: Political Economy

    I grew up in the house of an economist who convinced me, and generations of students at Colorado College, that econo...
  • Shelf 1: Encyclopedic Fiction

    My first love in literature was the novel, particularly the kind of novel that sets out to fit it the entire world. ...
  • Shelf 2: Shakespeare

    From the time I read the Classics Illustrated comics of Hamlet and Macbeth—the cover images still spring to mind wit...
  • Shelf 3: Science Fiction

    Science Fiction paved the path to the rest of my reading, taking me from the wonderful (and frequently, but not alwa...
  • Shelf 4: American Archetypes: Men Without Qualities

    As a Ph.D. in American literature who wrote a dissertation (and first published book) on the relationship between “c...
  • Shelf 5: Poetry

    Whenever I feel like I’ve been clogging my head with too many words, I return to the poets whose attention to the la...
  • Shelf 6: Modernisms

    There are times when I feel like these huge, challenging, profoundly rewarding novels are monuments to a lost era, w...
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