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Falcon's Bookshelf

The Lone Star College-CyFair Library book blog. Discover the great books our LSC-CyFair faculty and staff are reading!

The Falcon's Bookshelf

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September 2022 • John Soden, Professor of Philosophy

Do you have a guilty pleasure book? 

Comic Books and Graphic Novels when at the Library. Particularly Marvel. Online reading sometimes.  

What is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid? 

I force myself to read literary fiction.  I find the genre painful.  I try to read one good one a year based on my wife’s recommendations. 

My favorite genre to read is Philosophy, Ethics and History. These are some of my favorite books: 

The Great Conversation by Melchert

Plato's Republic by Plato

Leviathan by Hobbes 

Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle

The Ethical Life edited by Landau

What is a book that you’re afraid to read? 

Michael Horton’s Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way.  Nothing against Horton who is an excellent philosopher and theologian.  The book is over 1,000 pages, double columned with tiny footnotes.  I’m at about page 400 after 6 years of reading it once or twice a month.  It’s a rabbit hole book.  You end up with four open dictionaries and ancient primary sources open all over the floor just because Horton name dropped a medieval Islamic philosopher or made a controversial claim in a footnote.   

What is a book you dislike/hate that everyone loves? Do you remember the last time you put down a book without finishing? 

Yes.  But the person is still alive and I know them, and it would be awkward to respond.    

stamped from the beginning book coverWhat book is currently sitting on your nightstand? 

I am never reading just one book – I read books: Russell Kirk’s Roots of American Order, Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and Aristotle’s Poetics, New International Version Bible and Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary. 

What’s the last great book you read? The last book you recommended to everyone you know? miss chloe book cover

Recently finished Miss Chloe by A.J. Verdelle. 

Recommended The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis.  The trilogy is Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.  

Are there any classic novels you read recently for the first time?  Re-reading some of Leo Tolstoy for the school year.  Also, teach at a local high school. These are some of the titles that I teach.

The Great Conversation by Melchert

Plato's Republic by Plato

Leviathan by Hobbes 

Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle

The Ethical Life edited by Landau

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, what, where, how). 

In front of a crackling fire place, with my family and a hot coffee. Or the Library. Lanier Theological Library in Cypress is my go to over holiday breaks.  

Do you have a favorite book no one else has heard of? 

Most of my favorite books and what I teach few have heard of. Augustine’s Confessions, Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and Abū al-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd (aka Averroes)’s On the Harmony of Religions and Philosophy. 

Which writers – novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets – working today do you admire most? 

My mentors Laurence Thomas at Syracuse and Jim Means at Denver, Martha Nussbaum at University of Chicago and Douglas GroothuisCornel West, JP Moreland, Andrea Scarpino and Nancy Boxill.  

born a crime book coverWhat’s the last book you read that made you laugh? 

The memoir Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.  It made me laugh, cry, be horrified and laugh some more.  

What’s the most interesting thing that you learned from a book recently? 

Jeet Kune Do.  The martial arts form developed by Bruce Lee before he passed.  

Do you prefer books that reach you emotionally, or intellectually? 


What book might people be surprised to find on your bookshelf? 

Copies of sacred texts from most of the major world religions and significant portions of ancient religions.  

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain? 

I find Dare Devil and Iron Man to be very fascinating. Morbius is the most complex 

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most? 

I struggled with reading as a youth very much.  People had to work with me a lot.  I am very grateful for the time they spent with me.   

Have your reading tastes changed over time? 

Yes.  I really enjoy novels now along with reading a lot of philosophy.  

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite? 

Chinua Achebe, Thomas Aquinas, Abu 'Ali al-Husayn ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (aka Avicenna) and Augustine 

What do you plan to read next? 

The Scarlet Letter 

What book would you most like to see turned into a movie or TV series that hasn’t already been adapted? 

The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.