By “your field,” I mean your main area of intellectual interest, however you want to define it – your profession, your college major, your current passion, whatever.
So, whatever your field is – what one book would you recommend to someone if you wanted to communicate the incredible coolness that is your field? Assume that the person is coming into the field cold, so you don’t necessarily want to pick the book that summarizes the current cool cutting-edge theory, replete with arcane jargon. But also assume the person asking is an intelligent person, so you don’t necessarily need to pick something with wide margins and lots and lots of pics, either.
I was chatting with MidnightRadio last night when I came up with this question, and I’ve been trying to figure out what I would recommend for sociology of religion. (Damn, I’ve been out of the field for a long freakin’ time.) Back when I was teaching, I’d use Peter Berger’s Sacred Canopy in Intro to Religion – and spend a couple of weeks translating his ideas into a form undergrads could wrap their minds around. Very, very cool stuff, but not necessarily super accessible.
So maybe a case study of some sort? Hm… I’m still working on my answer. What’s yours?