A few weeks ago I made a post that linked Pierre Bourdieu and the permanent collection at Harvard through a discussion of changing the face of the collection by adding portraits to show the complexion of the college community. I posed questions to the blog followers asking who you would like to serve as a representation of our institution and, further, asking what ways do you think that the art on the walls (however narrowly or broadly defined) classifies the institution.
This week, I've been asking students a different kind of question: If the college were to do something together -- as a community -- such as reading a book, what book would you select? Your choice could come from poetry or prose, fiction or non. Might you choose epic? tragedy or comedy for you Shakespeareans among us? novel, short story, or creative non-fiction? Would you select fiction, biography, spiritual, historical?
The choice should not be full of jargon or purely discipline specific and appeal to the widest possible audience -- students, staff, and faculty. Here are some of the responses that students have given (and I've provided links from amazon.com for editions that I've selected for demonstration purposes only):
Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist
Vandana Shiva's Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit
Bill McKibben's Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot
Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak
John Gardner's Grendel
What book would you choose? And why? Please post here and let's discuss.
Photo pulled from Black Swan Books. If you've not been, you don't know what you're missing!