Intellectual or stupid dumbass?

Jodi said tonight that she doesn’t think I’m as much of an intellectual as I used to be because I don’t read nonfiction as much as I used to. (I do watch philosophy lectures on DVD as I fold laundry, I’ve been watching a four-hour series on the construction of skyscrapers, and I almost always have a book on tape — although those have tended to be fiction since I’ve listened to many of the library’s good NF audio already.)

So, anyone got any suggestions? I guess she didn’t notice when I was trying to wrap my brain around Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe, but I do like expository science essays in the tradition of Asimov and Clarke. Maybe I should give Guns, Germs and Steel another try. What else would you recommend to someone who wants to read intellectual stuff that’s interesting and well-written?



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11 responses to “Intellectual or stupid dumbass?

  1. cbustapeck

    I’ve enjoyed everything by Simon Winchester so far. He really knows how to connect the entire factual backstory.

    On the other hand, if you are looking for something that is more of a travelish while still being deeply rooted in history type experience, William Least-Heat Moon is quite wonderful.

  2. sylvar

    Cool, thanks.

  3. loucheroo

    honestly? i’d recommend (sorry jodi) that you raed what interests you and not worry about trying to be intellectual *shrug* you’re a way cool guy — just be you

  4. cardinalximinez

    Yeah, just do what makes you happy. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

  5. meander112

    I agree with the “be happy” comments, but the first thing that I thought of when you asked for suggestions was stuff by a guy naned Panati, I think. He wrote a book called Panati’s Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody. I don’t know how “intellectual” it is but it’s a great read and his other books sound very keen.

  6. osh1013

    doesn’t think I’m as much of an intellectual as I used to be because I don’t read nonfiction as much as I used to.

    This makes as much sense as if I didn’t think you were as much of a horse anymore because you don’t ride merry-go-rounds as much as you used to.

    Inotherwords, “almost none”, unless one is of the superficial notion that What A Person Is can be defined by One Behavioral Trait.

    So, anyone got any suggestions?

    Literal answer: blow it off, except insofar as she’s your wife and you might be concerned about understanding her worldview.

    Answering what you really asked: I’ll take “What Loucheroo Said” for 1000, Alex. I would suggest “Connections”, except it’s about as good to watch the series as read the book, and apparently the ‘video’ format doesn’t qualify for ‘intellectualness.’ ;)

  7. heathrow

    ITA with Louch, Ed, and !.

    Yes, you’re not reading as many “big” books since you’re in the real world and not in school anymore. It happens.

    I find it rather…off-putting that she would say that. Read what you want anc be happy.

  8. heyharmony

    I don’t think what you read reflects whether or not you are intellectual. I think it’s probably more about how it makes you think, what it sparks, and that sort of thing. Fiction can spark many an intellectual conversation.

  9. segnbora

    Ah, Charles Panati. In addition to Extraordinary Endings, he’s written The Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things; Browser’s Book of Beginnings; Parade of Fads, Follies, and Manias; Sacred Origins of Profound Things; and Sexy Origins and Intimate Things. Jon and I own most of these, and they have served as sources for short articles for newsletters at work. I don’t know if I’d call them intellectual, since no topic is really covered for longer than a couple of pages and hence all treatments are kind of summaries, but they are lots of fun and very informational.

    But really, I don’t think whether one reads fiction or nonfiction has anything to do with whether one is an intellectual. Chances are I was more intellectual in school, when I read fiction all of my free time, than now when I read rather more nonfiction and even blog it.

  10. myranda

    Amen, sister.

  11. cadrys

    I’ll dogpile in with the rest of the VAX crowd: read (or not) what you please. Intellectualism is a state of mind not defined by what’s currently open on your bedstand.

    Speaketh Becky: “Jodi, get a grip.” I concur.

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