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The Syllabus Book Subscription

With The Syllabus, we want to introduce you to new(ish) academic books (published within the last, say, ten years) that are not chasing the next big thought. These books emerge from a long thinking that's already been ongoing and will continue when others have moved along to the next thing. We take these books seriously, but we also want this be fun. There will be a quarterly theme/class, but our aim is to show that these formalities are informally run. 

Each quarter, you will receive by USPS Media Mail one book a month pertaining to the current "class." There will be no test, only good or bad ideas. We will not announce the books in advance. Should you have read book already or you already have it, we would encourage you to do as students have the world over: sell it to a great used bookstore and/or donate it to an institution who accepts such.

FALL/WINTER Course 2022 (Oct. - Dec.)

The Aesthetics of the Self: Self-Creation as an Act of Deception

Course Description

Ah, "the self" -- what's a better place to start a high-minded thing as this than here, where so many intellectual ventures stumble to a start and crash to a finish? In this course, we will concern ourselves not with a "self" discovered, damned or redeemed, so step aside Enlightenment and Christendom. Rather, we will explore selfhood as an ongoing act of creation, a telling of ourselves to ourselves and to others, by way of hearsay and/or misdirection. Outright lies are mundane, but they become a more interesting when we hold them to be true; a little more so when we can't tell the difference; and downright fascinating when we've fooled ourselves further into think that we can. Our reading will explore what becomes of our sense of self when the senses themselves maybe can't totally be trusted; and, moreover, what sense then can be made of others.

The readings will be a mix of cultural studies and philosophy, with excursions into medieval pasts and potential futures. 

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The Whys & Wherefores

We at East Bay Booksellers have a special fondness for academic publishing -- whether through formal university publishers or their more free-wheeling non-institutional kin. For a number of obvious and non-obvious reasons, they do not make "good business sense." But if we're being honest, this is largely why we love them! 

Academic publishing kicks against commercial norms and ambitions. Their success stories are, more often than not, measured in longevity and influence, citation and circulation. So much of publishing is about the moment, capturing it and the sale that goes with it. While there may be nothing necessarily wrong with that, there's nothing inherently right about it either! Somebody has probably written an academic book about this very dilemma. 

We can't feature with a stack all of the academic jewels on our shelves, so our hope is that with The Syllabus the sometimes maybe-a-little niche (another word for "discipline," I suppose) gets its moments and finds its readers.