Category Archives: Books

Dissertation Update #3: The Book of the Month Club

I’ve gotten my Bourdieu (it turns out it wasn’t poached, but misdelivered to the right house on the wrong street). It is looming rather smugly over me on the shelf.

I’ve been listening to Amy Hungerford’s undergraduate course on American novels post-1945. This is possible through a new Yale University initiative to make several of their courses available online–syllabi, audio and video. The first book she tackles is Richard Wright’s Black Boy and she tells the fascinating story of how the Book of the Month Club, which published it, dramatically influenced it editorially.

This dovetails nicely with one of my current reading projects, Janice Radway’s A Feeling for Books, which starts off with an anthropological mission to The Book of the Month Club just as the realities of modern publishing were catching up to it. At least I think that’s how things will turn out–I’m only in Part I.

Curious, I tried accessing the Book of the Month Club website. They’re still a going concern though from what I gathered on news sites the new owner, an outfit called Direct Brands, is cutting staff.

Dissertation Update #2: Somebody Poaches my Bourdieu

It’s been quite a week around here. I’ve been working on a long-running editing project, made my first visit to the ASU campus (and its library), and put together a paper proposal for next summer’s Digital Humanities Conference.

In the midst of all that and an unusually busy social schedule, I didn’t notice that my copies of Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction and The Field of Cultural Production had never arrived from Amazon. It looks like somebody poached the box from our front porch! I hope they enjoy massive French sociological tomes. The ironies here are left as an exercise for the reader.

Next week I’ll start drafting my dissertation proposal and post some more details about the general outline of my project.