Bauer studied English and French literature at Berkeley. courtesy

See me after class

See Me After Class is a weekly column where a different professor reveals their variety favorites.

Nicole Bauer is an assistant professor of history who received her B.A. from Berkeley, M.A. from Yale and Ph.D from UNC Chapel Hill. She is a cultural historian who specializes in early modern France and her primary focus is on the French Revolution which she offers a seminar on. You can often find her in her office sipping a cup of tea.

What’s your favorite book? What book would you say all undergrads need to read before they graduate?

I think most people go through periods or phases in their lives like artists do. Picasso had his blue period, his classical period, etc. For every phase in my life, there has been a kind of theme and the book or books to go with it. These days my favorite books are “Grist for the Mill” by Ram Dass and “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki. There isn’t much to say about these books except that if you approach them with the right state of mind, they will blow your mind wide open. For undergrads, I would suggest either of those two books if they want to be blown away, and also “Lovingkindness” by Sharon Salzberg which sounds like a sappy book, but is actually trenchant and so wise. It teaches us to have compassion and self-compassion which, in my opinion, we could all use a little more of these days.

What’s reading like for you? Is there a specific setting, mood, drink set-up?

Reading happens anywhere, anytime. When I’m waiting in line in the grocery store, I don’t pull out my phone. I read a book I keep in my purse, or I read one of the magazines in the aisle. People think you have to have the setting just right and that you are always in isolation, and they forget that reading can happen on the New York subway, in a war zone, at your cousin’s wedding or in the car while you’re waiting for the friend you’re picking up who is never on time. Centuries ago, people often read together in groups with one person reading aloud and the others listening. I am always talking to my friends about the books I’m reading and getting their suggestions. Reading can shut out the world, but it can also be communal.

Is there a movie/show that you always return to?

Any movie with Bette Davis is phenomenal. “Now, Voyager” from 1941 is a classic. Other movies I love: “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Annie Hall.”

What was the last book/movie/show that you actually found funny?

I keep thinking of “The Big Lebowski” recently. That movie is hilarious. I sometimes fall out of my seat laughing when I watch it, and the message of the film, if there is any, is to just sit back and chill out.

What’s your favorite Tulsa restaurant? Do you have any food/restaurant routines?

One of my favorite Tulsa restaurants is Jinya. Their ramen is fantastic.

Is there a media/pop culture/entertainment/music side to you that students wouldn’t expect?

A pop culture side to me that not all students may know about is that I am a big fan of Chinese and Korean dramas, or C-dramas and K-dramas for short. Many are available on Netflix now, and they are great. They go on for many, many episodes, and they have a beginning and an end like a telenovela. You don’t have to shop around too often for a new show since they go on for so long, but they also have satisfying endings.

If you had to pick three songs for a Playlist of Your Life, what would they be?

Wow, three songs for my playlist. This is a tough one! “You gotta be” by Des’ree is a great one. I love anything by The Cure, and so maybe “Just Like Heaven.” And “The Book of My Life” by Sting is exquisite.

Post Author: Julianne Tran