Friday, April 27, 2007

Prophylactic thinking

I've done it to myself again: required all my students to turn in papers in the same week. Next week at this time I'll be inundated with student writing, and not just any student writing but the kind of writing that occurs at the time in the semester when many students are on the verge of becoming gibbering idiots--and inspiring their professors to do likewise.

To prepare for the onslaught, I intend to spend this weekend doing some prophylactic thinking: filling my mind so full of good stuff that drivel won't be able to find a foothold but will instead bounce off the surface of my jam-packed mind like a gymnast off a trampoline. All I need to do is find a whole lot of witty, intelligent, thought-provoking writing to pack in there and top it off with a generous measure of clever conversation, rollicking laughter, and appreciation of nature.

But if I'm going to fill my mind with good stuff, first I need to find the good stuff with which to fill it. What kind of reading will best serve to steel my mind against an impending onslaught of mediocrity? I welcome suggestions.


Laura said...

I have been reading Einstein's Dreams , which has some very interesting ideas. NIce mental gymnastics. Of course, Borges is also good for that too.

Let me know if you'd like to borrow some Borges in English.

Andrea said...

mental_floss magazine can be a hilarious provoker of thought. Maybe you already subscribe...if not, B&N is likely to have the May-June copy.

I also recommend listening to The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto.