August 2011


Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress.  Reading, of course, is key in all of these.  With this in mind, we asked some faculty members at St. John’s about books that have influenced them personally or professionally.  

Dr. Igor Tomic – an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, Director of the Financial Services Institute, and editor of the Review of Business published by the Peter J. Tobin College of Business – writes:

A book that had an influence on me was The Economic Consequences of the Peace, by John Maynard Keynes, published by McMillan in London in 1919.  How often does a young person using simple addition and subtraction point to a colossal mistake that predictably led a developed nation into troublesome times, with overwhelmingly ravaging consequences to itself and the world?

Mr. Keynes (and later Lord Keynes) as a young men working for the British Treasury (and as a deputy for the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was temporarily assigned to the Paris Peace Conference.  He resigned on June 7, 1919 as he realized that the compensation imposed on countries defeated in the World War I was of such size that it would devastate their economy and likely lead to social turmoil; not something that would assure peace in a continent where the war just ended.

How prophetic was his observation when 14 years later Adolf Hitler came to power as a direct result of the miserable economic conditions affecting Germany! In the recent reprint of this book (Skyhorse Publications, Inc.New York, 2007) Robert B. Reich further illuminated the value of Keynes’ book: “But its real import was to be felt decades later, after the end of World War II. Instead of repeating the mistakes made almost three decades before, the US and Britain bore in mind Keynes’ earlier admonition. The surest pathway to a lasting peace was to help the vanquished rebuild.”

Refworks 2.0 link in upper right corner, next to Home

RefWorks is one of a number of bibliographic management programs that are available to the staunch researcher.  If you are a dedicated RefWorks user, you might want to take a look at the new RefWorks 2.0 interface that launched earlier this week.  The “Classic” interface  will be accessible until the end of the year (so you have an adjustment period), but if you want to review some of the highlights of the new interface, check out this video which highlights the differences between the old and new interfaces.

Also, if you want to play with the new interface before the end of the semester you will see links to access RefWorks 2.0 in the upper, right-hand corner at the log-in stage (pictured left, above)

Additionally, after you are logged in,  there is a link that lets you toggle back and forth between the classic and 2.0 interfaces in the upper, right-hand corner of your account screen (pictured right, below).

Toggle link lets you switch between classic and 2.0 interface

If you are new to RefWorks, you might consider looking into the new interface from the start — this preview video for new users will show you some of the features.

For those who like to learn on their own, but would like some extra help, there are free webinars and tutorials available from RefWorks.

Of course, for those of you who like a hands-on workshop, we offer in-library workshops on RefWorks and Zotero (another, open-source Bibliographic Management system)– among other topics. Register for one today!

Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress.  Reading, of course, is key in all of these.  With this in mind, we asked some faculty members at St. John’s about books that have influenced them personally or professionally. 

Dr. Robert Forman, a professor of English and Classics and Director of the university’s Honors Program , writes:

For the past several years, James Gibson’s edition of the Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy has become serious entertainment for me.  Curiously, in adolescence and during college, I read what made Hardy famous: his novels, one or two each year until I had read the lot.  Having reached senescence and remembering the novels fondly, Hardy’s poems have come to mean so much more.  They deal with youth, love, loss, the passing of time, and more significantly the desire to believe but the difficulty of belief.  They produce a curiously mimetic effect upon me; were I able to write real poetry, this is what I would want to write.

   Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress.  Reading, of course, is key in all of these.  With this in mind, we asked some faculty members at St. John’s about books that have influenced them personally or professionally. 

Dr. Florence M. Russo, an assistant professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures, writes:      

  Dante’s 14th century masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, a text which I have read countless times, has had a most incredible influence on my life. The text has become my second Bible. I would not be the person that I am today, had I never read it. For one, I would not be doing exactly what I am doing now as my chosen profession. The text’s sublime poetry and symmetry, its life lessons and emphasis on the power of the word and the importance of interpretation have set the fundamentals for world literature. As we journey through his text, Dante teaches us to become more attentive readers and thus more attentive discerners in the great text that is life, in its truths and in its semblances, to discern always the truth, even the truth that has the face of a lie (‘l ver c’ha la faccia di menzogna).                                                                                        

Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress.  Reading, of course, is key in all of these.  With this in mind, we asked some faculty members at St. John’s about books that have influenced them personally or professionally.

Dr. Herbert Pierson, a professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures and co-editor of The Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, writes:

For as long as I can remember, I have had a love of reading, especially non-fiction history and biographies, but also selective 20th century English fiction.  My favorite fiction author from high school days, persisting until today, is the Anglo-Catholic writer Graham Greene.  I can never tire of reading his works, valuing the wisdom and insight that his usually very human fallible characters convey to me even more now that I possess a bit more maturity and life experience.  My favorite novel by Greene remains The Heart of the Matter, which takes place in a British Colony somewhere in West Africa during World War II.  The main character is the tortured Major Henry Scobie, a colonial police officer.  Scobie is trapped in a loveless marriage with Catherine, a devout Roman Catholic, while Scobie is himself is a convert and scrupulously devout.  In this context Scobie is confronted with several profound moral choices around which this well crafted novel revolves.  Rereading this novel last year while on vacation, I underlined several words or thoughts uttered by Scobie which struck me especially poignant in light of today:

In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.

 Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.

What an absurd thing … to expect happiness in a world so full of misery.

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