Slate, probably my favorite on-line publication day-in/day-out, has published a couple of interesting reading lists lately.
Last week, they offered suggestions from their writers and editors for incoming freshmen. I believe they took this with varying degrees of seriousness:
As part of an ongoing assault on leisure, many American universities assign summer reading to incoming freshmen who have yet to set foot in a college classroom. Dartmouth, for example, sent Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus to the class of 2014 “to engage new students in a shared academic experience.” Stanford mailed out three titles: Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains, Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “The Undesirable Table.” The University of North Carolina, meanwhile, picked a book with three authors: Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption, by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Tomeo.
While we have no doubt that these are worthy picks, they also seem rather dutiful: Injustice and undesirable furniture aren’t so great for the beach. So we thought we’d offer incoming freshmen an alternative list, one better suited to helping 18-year-olds navigate university life.
You can read the sugggestions and why they were suggested here. I’m sorry to say I’ve only read one of them. Be sure to check out the comments for some more suggestions.
Today they offer the results of readers’ suggestions of what the President should read on his vacation. I’ve only read one of those, too. (Well, two if I get to count a pretty sizable portion of the Bible.) And you can skip the comments on this one. Oy!
But anyway, reading is always a good idea. I suspect we’ll institute a summer reading at Hilbert in the next year or two.
I’ve been juggling several books over the last few months. Most of my pleasure reading is done at bedtime and I don’t seem to get more than a few pages in. But I have finished a couple of them lately, so things are looking up!