Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Seth Perry

Seth Perry is assistant professor of religion at Princeton University.

His new book is Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Perry's reply:
Like probably any academic, I’m “reading” a dozen books at any one time, with varying degrees of attentiveness and intention (intention to finish, I mean), but I have to admit that the first thing that comes to mind with this prompt is that I just started Woken Furies, the third book in Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs series. I picked up the first one, Altered Carbon, after watching the Netflix show. These sci fi novels are not high art, and I actually find the Byzantine complexity of the plots perfectly bewildering, but Morgan’s world building is a lot of fun, and there are flashes of real artistry and depth – I can’t put it down.

My next book is something of a biography (of Lorenzo Dow, the most famous itinerant preacher in America in the early nineteenth century), and I’ve been re-reading Nabokov’s biography of Gogol to get some inspiration – not being Nabokov, I don’t think I’ll be able to get away with copying that style (it is a strange and wonderful book – he starts with Gogol’s death and ends with his birth), but I think this is a fun way to start thinking about writing my next book.

Beyond that, with two weeks of vacation coming up I have accumulated a hefty stack of books I’m taking along. I am most looking forward to Emily Ogden’s Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism – she has me with the boldness of the title! Mesmerism is long overdue for a new theoretically-sophisticated treatment. Also, I’m taking a large volume of Arthur C. Clarke stories, because a student recommended Clarke to me and I’ve never read any.
Learn more about Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue