Faculty Bookshelf: Joanna Kirk

A continuing series of interviews with SUNY Geneseo faculty on their reading interests; today’s “Faculty Bookshelf” delves into the pursuits of Sociology and Political Science professor, Joanna Kirk.   

JKirkWhat is your philosophy on books and reading?

You are what you read. Books are food for the mind, psyche and soul, and you can’t live a full life without them. Like dishes, you won’t like them all, and you shouldn’t feel obliged to finish your plate. In fact, don’t feel obliged to start it, or perhaps nibble around the edges to please the person who has brought it your way. Revisit your favorite books: like your favorite cuisine, your favorite literature offers comfort and delight, and (books do this better than food) you always learn something new.

What is your favorite literary genre to read for pleasure?

Fiction, particularly novels exploring social, political, economic and psychological issues; and creative nonfiction, particularly historical and travel.  Oh, and when I want a laugh, sci-fi/fantasy comedy – wish I could find more writers of this genre up to par with Douglas Adams (“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) and Terry Pratchett (“Disc World”).  Any suggestions, anyone?

AdamsBooks

PratchettBooks

What books are on your nightstand now?

Currently reading: Written by Herself: Autobiographies of American Women WrittenByHerself

Books currently on my bedside table (next up, in order):

Tell us about a book that changed your life:

EdibleWomanToo many books have influenced me to mention here (some of which are listed above), but the first that comes to mind as a work with an immediate and profound effect on my thoughts and behavior was Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman, a gift from my elder brother, who I know perceived what I was going through.  The book helped me greatly with an eating disorder, and drew me further into issues of gender stereotyping, inequality and violence.

Name a book you just couldn’t finish: Lord of the rings

There are two “classics” I never finished:

What were your favorite books as a child?

Most* memorable childhood and young adult books (all of which helped me formulate goals in terms of personal qualities, professional skills, and lifetime accomplishments):

* It would be more accurate to say that they are the ones that have come to mind over the week since I was invited – thank you, Milne Library! – to write my book-bio.LittleHouseSeries

 

What are your current research interests?

Global development policy, particularly environmental and social sustainability and justice; and women’s rights, particularly violence against women.

Many of these books are available in the Milne Library collection and the others are available via IDS, simply click on the links or book covers above to get the call number or click “Get It” to request the book via IDS.