Dissecting great books that have endured and are beloved and familiar to many is a great way to look at what we, as a society, value and how we view ourselves. We have two stellar new books in our After Class collection worth checking out that explore this issue.
Anyone who has ever heard Maureen Corrigan’s wise yet down-to-earth book reviews on Fresh Air on NPR will probably want to read what she has to say about everyone’s favorite high school lit class read, The Great Gatsby. Her new book So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be And Why It Endures is a satisfying read for lovers of the novel. It’s engaging and intelligent but not overly academic (which means it’s a great pick for semester break). Corrigan looks at what makes the book so special- it’s not what many people think; and also reflects on why the books has come to be buried so thoroughly in American consciousness.
Azar Nafisi came to this country from Iran, and the inspiration for her newest book, The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books was a comment someone made to her about how Americans don’t care about literature as deeply as people in other countries. Her response to this comment is this penetrating and enthusiastic look at works by three distinctly American novelists: Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis and Carson McCullers. She urges us to take a deep look at the America presented by these writers and how those ideas are represented in American life today. For those who were moved by Giovanni’s Room last school year, the epilogue centered on James Baldwin is particularly powerful.
Let’s take a deep look into the act of reading and what it can do for you, using questions and a few great items in our collection as answers.
Mark Edmundson, a professor at the University of Virginia has written a thorough examination of why reading matters in contemporary culture, and more specifically why it matters for young people in higher education. His book Why Read? is for passionate professors of the humanities. In the introduction to the book he says
Reading woke me up. It took me from a world of harsh limits into expanded possibility. Without poetry, without literature and are, I could well have died miserable. It was this belief in great writing that, thirty years ago, made me become a teacher.
Does Reading Make You Happier?
Ceridwen Dovey explores this question in the June 9 issue of The New Yorker (which you can access physically in the shelves behind the café in the library). Drawing on her personal experience with bibliotherapy and from studies published in the past ten years, she examines how reading can shape a life. How it may make you more empathetic and can restore you through life’s roughest patches. The book mentioned in the article From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You is a truly wonderful, and perhaps even life-changingresource.
How Do You Read?
Francine Prose is a highly regarded and award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction for adults, young adults and children. She was the president of the PEN American Center. Her book Reading Like a Writer about learning how to write through careful reading is a deep look at what being a close reader of good writing can do for you. Even readers who aren’t interested in becoming writers themselves will marvel at the examples and insights that Prose highlights.
Next week, we’ll continue our look into the world of reading with 2 fantastic new books about books in American culture.
AMC just announced that the new season of the Walking Dead will begin October 11th. We are getting excited about this, so I thought I’d post this video from our One Book programming on World War Z (2013-2014 academic year).
This article from Panels.net caught my eye, Eid Mubarak! A Look at Muslims in Comics. This is a great piece that outlines a range of characters in comics (superhero and non-superhero) who are Muslims. There’s a diverse group of characters and stories.
This caught my eye, because we are excited to be hosting two of the most well-known Arab writers. Yes, I know that being Arab is not the same as being Muslim, but these books consider many similar issues. Many writers intertwine identities. The article linked above actually has several comics about non-Arab Muslims. So, this explores quite a diversity of views. Definitely worth reading.
Here’s the event details for this fall. This event is organized by the Arab Student Union.
The Arab Experience Through Graphic Novels: Author Visit and Book Signing Featuring Leila Abdelrazaq and Toufic El Rassi
Nov 17, 11am Building L, Library Lounge
We welcome acclaimed writers Leila Abdelrazaq and Toufic El Rassi to Moraine Valley for this special event. Leila Abdelrazaq is the author of the graphic novel Baddawi which is the story of a young Palestinian boy named Ahmad who is struggling to find his place in the world. Toufic El Rassi is the author of the graphic novel Arab in America which is the story of average Arab-Americans who struggle with their identity in a post-9/11 world.
Many countries celebrate their Independence Days with fireworks, food and parades. July 14, Bastille Day, is a special day for the people of France. This day commemorates one of the major events of the French Revolution, the storming of the Bastille, a 18th century French political prison.
The MVCC campus and library also celebrates France. French classes that cover culture and language are offered every semester. The library has a collection of material on France and French culture. The library also subscribes to Paris Match (the French equivalent of People Magazine).
“French is the only language (besides English), that is taught in every nation in the world. More than 200 million people speak French, making it the ninth most widely spoken language in the world.”
The MVCC Democracy Commitment’s Faculty Coordinator, Tamarra Coleman-Hill sits down with Tish and Troy to talk about the Celebrating Latino Americans Program. These include a range of programs including author Ana Castillo, One Book Author José Ángel N., and NEIU’s Maria Luna-Duarte. Learn more at our website at https://latinoamericans.apps.morainevalley.edu/.
MVCC Humanities faculty member Dr. Randy Conner discuses his research into the mixing of indigenous spiritual practice and Catholicism in the Americas. He discusses the idea of mestizaje which is the mixing of cultures and practices. He also discusses biculturalism which is living in two cultures at one time. This exploration of religious practice is part of our Celebrating Latino American programming. Learn more at our website at https://latinoamericans.apps.morainevalley.edu/.
We be hosting a Gaming Day on October 1, 2015 (noon – 4pm) as part of the Graphic Novel Symposium. In this podcast, MVCC Librarians and staff discuss games that we will play and the games available for checkout in the library. For more information visit, the Graphic Novel Symposium website at http://ext.morainevalley.edu/comicsculture/.
MVCC Librarians interview José Ángel N. who is the 2015-2016 One Book, One College author. His book Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is the One Book text. In this interview, José shares his reasons for writing the book, reflects on his time as a Moraine Valley student, and discusses issues related to undocumented immigrants to the US. For more information visit the website at https://latinoamericans.apps.morainevalley.edu/OneBook.html.