On Oct. 25, Andersen, 44, will be one of the featured authors at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, where he'll talk about his book Shadow Philosophy: Plato's Cave and Cinema, which brings Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange into philosophical conversation with Plato's Republic. "I compare A Clockwork Orange and what it has to say with ideas from Plato's Republic,'' he said. "So at the book festival, I just want to talk about that idea that we can find philosophy in a context that we might not ordinarily expect.'' Andersen has been teaching philosophy and film at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg for about 15 years.
What's on your nightstand?
Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. It's a great book. It's aimed at showing the continued and enduring relevance in Plato, someone who is very close to me in my thinking. She writes very clearly about difficult subjects, which is a model on how I want to write and teach. I think she's somebody who writes well and clearly. It could appeal to audiences of all ages. I also have Magician's Land by Lev Grossman, the third in the trilogy. I read the other two, and I thought it was great. It's a fantastic series. It is really about growing up and a grownup kind of magic.
Did you like the third book as well as the first?
I didn't think he could do anything after the first book, but the second one was richer, and the third was even more surprising a novel than the first two. I think the characters mature quite a bit, and the significance of what they are engaged in, finding themselves in relation to a magical land, becomes richer.
I'm also re-reading Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
So what are your favorites?
(Whitman's) A Song of Myself and Emerson's Self-Reliance. I consider that like Scripture.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer