Money for Books

“Dear Evan,

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you are the 2008-9 Dana Prize winner. Professor Kane and I found your reflections on your revised summer reading project both thoughtful and evolved. It is clear that you began with quite a general idea of what line of inquiry you would pursue and found a thread even among books of an ostensibly varied character: science fiction, proper, and Christian fiction.

I will submit your name to the proper office in the Spring when prizes are announced and awarded. You will be receiving a financial award in June.

Wendy Graham”

This week has been nuts. Here’s a comic.

Update 8/19/2015 — at the time I had won this award, I didn’t know that Paul Kane would go on to become one of my favorite professors (and human beings) of all time.  I found my reading list in my old documents — it was Sci Fi, which, by coincidence, I’ll be teaching next semester with Steven Burt.


Science Fiction

My summer reading list changed considerably when I decided to rebuild it to fit my parents at-home library rather than buying a bunch of new books.  Here’s what I read first:

Huxley — Brave New World

Orwell – 1984

Huxley — Brave New World Revisited

Huxley — Doors of Perception

Orwell — Animal Farm

Lewis  — Out of the Silent Planet

Lewis  — Perelandra

Lewis  — That Hideous Strength

Lewis  — The Abolition of Man

Lewis  — The Great Divorce

Lewis  — A Grief Observed

The above are listed in basically the order I read them in (sometimes I read books simultaneously, particularly when they are divided into essays, like Brave New World, Revisited was).  Basically, I was jumping into the world of 20th century science fiction and philosophy in the new age of eugenics and psychology, until I hit C.S. Lewis, who incorporates Christianity into space in such a way that I almost forgot there wasn’t life on Mars.

On August 2nd, I headed off to New Bedford to begin a curatorial internship at the Whaling Museum, where I began having almost daily conversations with the Conservator, Robert Hauser, and sometimes Rudy Riefstahl, a volunteer ex-Curator.  We have been discussing a number of topics, from the classic question of “What is Art?” to “At what point is a Conservator over-conserving; that is, at what point are conservation techniques impinging upon the artist’s intent?” and “Would you die for a painting? Why? Which?”  Needless to say, I love my internship.  But it sent me down a different reading path:


Hall-Dunca, Newman, Martin, Sutton (Bruce Gallery) Fakes and Forgeries: The Art of Deception

-A catalogue of a recent exhibition on famous art history forgers throughout           history, along with a whole bunch of pictures of the faked artwork.

Simon Houpt, Museum of Missing: A History of Art Theft

Lee Israel, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The autobiography of a failed author gone signature forger.

Danny Danziger, Museum

A book of interviews with different members of the staff at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Arthur Wheelock, Vermeer: The Complete Works

Brief overview of Vermeer with fantastic full-page pictures which I had to read     after reading about Van Meegeren’s forgery.

Somekh and Eckert, Mary Holmes: Paintings and Ideas

The art of Mary Holmes, the late, beloved Art History Professor at UCSC, along with interviews about philosophy, art, love, empathy, despair, and all sorts of things.

Next up on my list of books to read:

Eric Hebbon, The Art Forger’s Handbook

Eric Hebbon, Drawn to Trouble: Confessions of a Master Forger


Devil’s Dictionary

Stuart Frank, Melville’s Picture Gallery

An analysis of the many different works of art depicting whales that Melville refers to in Ch.55-56 of Moby Dick (“Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales”, “Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes”)

Eric Dolin, Leviathan

A fantastic overview of American History through the eyes of the one of the primary industries of the 18th and 19th centuries.

National Geographic, Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

A narrative about the Glanton Gang, a bunch of murders in the mid-19th century frontier west.

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