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Back to School Reading

September 1, 2010

With Labor Day almost here, I’m starting to think about students and schools.  Once I got to college, I remember that back to school time was exciting, a fresh start. Fresh new notebooks, giant lovely reading lists of books that looked interesting. An excuse to buy pens, and those clever little tape-flag things in dozens of colors, and the promise that this year, everything would be gorgeously and meticulously organized.

Though it’s been a while since I was in school full time, I still feel the same about September. I want to learn new things! I want to take notes in a classroom! If I had enough money, I’d probably be a perpetual student, taking useful classes sometimes, but also going for odd bits of cultural history and social inquiry. Also, possibly English classes, to get me to be a better writer and reader. And cooking classes.

I am restraining myself from buying pens and notebooks, or from enrolling in a class… I don’t even know what class I’d take if I could, though I’d like to dust off my ability to speak and read Spanish. (I studied it in high school.) And I certainly have enough books to read, and review, to keep me feeling somewhat studious.

Maybe it’s time to hit the kitchen. Again, I will restrain my urge to buy all new cookbooks and/or suddenly try to teach myself something giant like Everything Possible About Greek Food. Or maybe I should wait til the kitchen cools off a little.

All this quasi-scholastic navel gazing is a preface to a Slate post about different colleges’ reading lists, which I found on I’ve only read a few of these. And several of them, as well as the rationale behind reading them before college, look fascinating. The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, looks like something to pick up the next time I’m in the mood for something wizardly.

And my mom recommended White Teeth, by Zadie Smith.

I’m also very entertained by the homebrewing guide on the list. I agree, it’s a good way to save college students from Natty Light. But from what I understand, brewing can get pretty involved, and it might be hard to balance with classes. I may indeed have been out of college too long if I don’t remember how to do an all nighter when things pile up.

I am absolutely, and seriously not allowed to buy new books, as I’m not sure where I would put them. (My TBR pile is nearly as tall as I am!) But maybe the library.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rosemarie permalink
    September 2, 2010 9:21 pm

    I’ve read “Plain Kate”, and it’s wonderful. Who else but a poet would write:

    “It was just an uneasy little change, like the half-felt movement of a boat that slowly induces a great sickness.”

    “Plain Kate” has an exciting plot, indelible characters and elegant prose. This book is worth reading for the pure pleasure of the language. Really, it has much in common with Ms. Bow’s award winning book of poetry, “Ghost Maps” which tells the life story of a WWII vet with simple beauty, extraordinary grace and feeling.

    I highly recommend Plain Kate! Five *****

    PS I’m so glad to have found your blog, Ms. Willse. Love your style!

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