The Book That Changed My Life
Justin Kim. Occupation: Student. Formerly a lonely freshman, now the president of Sigma Tau Delta. But throughout the day, a man beloved by his peers, and therefore a most important man. Not true, you say? Probably not – but it did happen in “The Book That Changed My Life”
What is the book that changed your life?
One book that changed my life, as there are many, is The Truth about the Truth: De-confusing and Re-constructing the Postmodern World. It is a collection of essays edited by Walter Truett Anderson.
How would you describe the book to someone who hasn’t read it?
I would say that this book is a perfect introduction for people not well versed in postmodern critical theory. The book includes essays and excerpts by prominent intellectuals like bell hooks, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida (among many others) which are all easily digestible and prefaced by helpful contextualization. If you are a student with little to no exposure to postmodern/poststructuralist theory and find it intimidating, this is a fantastic gateway to immersing yourself in these types of formulations and analyses.
Where/How did you first encounter this book?
This book was a required reading for the Postmodern Thought honors course taught by Professor Sandage of the Sociology department. The assigned essays from the book were very illuminating, and were taught within the framework of the linguistically minded works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jean-François Lyotard. It is no coincidence that when I look back on this book as a formative experience, I had encountered it in one of the most masterfully taught classes I have ever taken at WIU.
How did the book change you?
The essays contained within the book seemed to articulate things that I could have never possibly thought of but that I found myself enthusiastically agreeing with. This was my first contact with this type of scholarship, and I was immediately enraptured by how powerfully concepts were articulated, and how relevant they were to our contemporary experience. It was through this book that I realized the potency of being highly suspicious of the things you hold most dearly or that which seems most apparently true. Reading through this book allowed me to ask questions and address tensions which were previously impossible for me to access, and I was able to understand what critical thinking actually entails.