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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

Bibliophiles assemble! by Jenny X. '13

When life gives you books...

A few weeks ago, I had the best weekend in recent history. Of course, it was CPW and the weather was magnificent. But sometimes the most unexpected details go a long way in raising your spirits. For me, that little detail was the MIT Press Loading Dock Sale. And I lied – I KNEW it was going to make me happy.

Every semester or so, the MIT Press (located to the Eastern edge of the campus) hosts a legendary Loading Dock Sale where several rooms are lined wall to wall with moderately new books at prices reduced up to 90% off. How could they afford to sell them for such low prices? Apparently, the books are mainly MIT Press overstock, or with minor damage, or out-of-print. But these factors are no deterrents!

Students, educators, and other segments of the MIT community crowded room after room, carrying baskets filled to the brim, and accumulating checkout sums of several hundreds. It could get crazy in there and it wasn’t hard to see why.

The content range was incredible. From computer science to political science, to architecture, to music, philosophy, linguistics…you name it. I tried very hard to tame my hoarder instincts. My friend walked away with an impressive coffee table book on the art of Duchamp. But here’s what I ended up with – I had to stop myself before it got out of hand, and so I can hurry off to the CPW Activities Midway.

Honest Signals is written by MIT Media Lab professor Alex (Sandy) Pentland on the significance of our nuanced ways of interaction. Inventing American History investigates historical events written to serve specific political interests. Designing Media is a collection of interviews with media pioneers, probing media of the future. And lastly, Ai Weiwei’s Blog is a translated collection of blog entries from the Chinese artist/activist/true-multi-hyphenate.

I am still giddy about these purchases this very moment.

So If you love books and will be at MIT, this is a quick public service announcement! There should be another one of these events this coming fall.

What are you reading these days? Any recommendations?