Sunday Salon: Required Reading

Tomorrow is the first day of the fall semester for me and I’m pretty excited. Ever since I was a kid I looked at the first day of school as being exciting but also something to fear.

The next two semesters are pretty important for me. Next August I have plans to transfer to a university but I still haven’t figured out which one yet. I’m a decent student but I need school to go really well if I’m going to transfer to a really selective school. . . While being away from blogging the past two weeks, one of the books I read was Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope.  In the book, Pope profiles about forty small colleges around the country that he believes that go above and beyond to help students learn and achieve their educational goals. After reading the book, I had a list of about fifteen schools that I want to do more research on. I definitely recommend this book to students of all ages.

Every semester I take an eclectic mix of classes and this semester is no exception. So this semester I’m taking two English classes:  Literature Composition and Critical Writing along with a Philosophy of Religion class. I’m on the waiting list for an accounting class and a Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion class with my favorite anthropology professor. I love to learn and I’ve found that taking classes across subjects keeps school fresh and interesting.

The title of this post is “required reading” and I wanted to give you a taste of some of the books I have to read this semester.

Like a Splinter in Your Mind: The Philosophy Behind the Matrix Trilogy by Matt Lawrence. Lawrence is my philosophy professor and from what I’ve learned about him so far, he’s also a huge Matrix fan.

Travels in Hyperreality by Umberto Eco. This is an eclectic collection of essays. I haven’t read anything by Eco before so I can’t wait to start reading this.  (Critical Writing)

The World’s Wisdom by Philip Novak. According to the review by Library Journal, this is a compendium of sacred texts from many of the world’s religion. I’m definitely counting this for the World Religion challenge.

West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns by Jane Tompkins. Tompkins examine the genre of Western both on-screen and in books. I’m not a big fan of westerns so we’ll see if I’m really able to read and finish this.

Not pictured

Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I know many bloggers have had a love/hate relationship with this book. I just hope I’m able to survive it. ( Lit Comp.)

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. (Critical Writing)

Now I’m off to sharpen my pencils and buy school supplies! Have you read any of the books I listed? Does any of them interesting to you?


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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31 Responses to Sunday Salon: Required Reading

  1. Samantha says:

    I love the beginning of school as well. The end part not so much when it is really stressful but the beginning of the school year is always a fresh beginning. I love it! Good luck with your school year and hope this semester goes well for you!

  2. Molly says:

    Well, I am somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t seen the Matrix trilogy – although I really do want to at some point. Like a Splinter in Your Mind sounds like a fascinating “required” read 🙂

    Have a wonderful first week of school!

  3. bermudaonion says:

    I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous school year. The only one of those books I’ve read is The Life of Pi and I am pretty ambivalent about it.

  4. JoAnn says:

    Good luck with the new semester. I listened to Jared Diamond’s book (OK, but didn’t love it) and look forward to your thoughts on Eco’s essays. I need to read him one of these days!

  5. She says:

    I am so jealous that you’re going back to school! Having just graduated college, I am for the first time ever not going back in the fall and it’s terrifying. I hope you get the classes you’re waiting for.

  6. Frances says:

    Just love your ambitious plans for a selective school that delivers in above and beyond ways. So important. Have read most of these posted here but have a special fondness for the Eco. For all things Eco. Best wishes for the semester to come! And happy reading (whether by choice or assigned)!

  7. Christina says:

    I read Colleges that Changes Lives when I was on my own college search, and actually decided to attend one of the schools he profiles. One of my friends, whom I loaned the book to, went to a school he profiles in Texas. Life of Pi is one of my favorite books, and I have Collapse in my TBR pile. I’m hoping to get to it soon, although it is not required reading for any of my classes.

    I don’t start school for another week and a half, and one of my professors still has not posted his textbook list. Once he does that I’ll be posting my own required reading lists.

  8. Care says:

    I love your enthusiasm and am intrigued and happy that you can be discerning with your choice of college. If I had it to do over again, I think I would have LOVED to find a small distant liberal arts college to attend (but I am also glad I went where I did – I met my husband, so that’s something.)
    I’ve read Life of Pi and think any college discussion of this would be tremendously fun. I have a like/dislike relationship with that book; am very glad I read it.
    Happy Back to School!

  9. Yea! I love the start of school. I start with students August 23 but have convocation and meetings tomorrow. I went school supplies shopping last week. I spent way too long in the pen aisle. I may have an obsession.

    I haven’t read any of those, but I did take a Western film and fiction grad course back in school and loved it. Westerns have left an indelible mark on American culture, and it fascinates me. Let me know how that book is; I’m curious if I need to add it to my collection.

    Have fun, and good luck!

  10. Kathleen says:

    Sounds like you have a great semester ahead of you. I have read The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and really loved it. I hope you will enjoy the book of essays.

  11. Sara says:

    My college is one of those featured in Pope’s book. If Emory & Henry College was on your list, feel free to email me. I’ll be more than happy to give you more information about that beloved place.

  12. I’m intrigued by the book about religion. In general, I’ve been very disappointed with the required reading I had to do in college. Textbooks are not my preferred reading material. It was not the required reading I remember, but the recommended reading (I was always one of those overachievers who read everything the professor required or recommended.)

  13. Well, yes. I loved Life of Pi, but the very first time I recommended it to someone, she wrote me an email after fifty pages and said “What have you done to me? This is the worst book I have EVER read.”

    After finishing the novel, she wrote to me again and said, “OK: that was a really interesting ending. But I am still not sure that it made the whole experience worthwhile.”

  14. Gavin says:

    How exciting, starting a new school year! Colleges That Changed Lives looks fascinating and I’m curious about the schools that ended up on your list.

    I loved both the Life of Pi and Collapse. Jared Diamond is a favorite of mine, I also liked Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Have a great first week at school, Vasilly.

  15. Gavin says:

    Oh, and I really want to read The Street Art Book!

  16. zibilee says:

    I loved Life of Pi when I read it a few years ago. Very hit or miss book though. I am glad that you are excited about starting back at school, and think that you chose some excellent and very eclectic classes this time around! I wish you much success with them!

  17. bookmagic says:

    I wonder how one (me) would explain a reading drought to their professors? I love the idea of going back to school but not the reality. Don’t think I could do it. Good for you!

  18. Carrie K. says:

    The only one I’ve read is Life of Pi, and I pretty much hated it. 😦 Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did!

  19. Thanks for mentioning Colleges that Change Lives. I’ll invest in that for when my kids are a bit older and interesting in discussing college. I also want to read Like a Splinter in our Mind. What a great idea for a philosophy text!

  20. iliana says:

    Haven’t read any of the books you have on your required reading list so can’t offer anything on those but just wanted to say – good luck with school! I miss those first days of school – so much promise, excitement, ah… Hope your classes and professors are wonderful!

  21. Ash says:

    I haven’t read any of these books but it looks like you have an exciting semester ahead of you. I love the idea of this post, I might have to steal the idea from you!

  22. Memory says:

    I haven’t read any of the books you listed, but I did take a Myth, Magic & Shamanism class that I imagine was a lot like your Magic, Witchcraft and Religion class. It was awesome. The best course I ever took. I hope you’re able to get in!

  23. bookgazing says:

    So cool that you can take a variety of classes. Witchcraft from an athropological point of view sounds fascinating (just make sure you don’t accidentally awaken any spirits).

  24. Andi says:

    Good list! I miss all this academic reading. The start of school was always so much fun, and now I have to plan from the other side of the desk. Also fun, but just not the same.

  25. Jenny says:

    I miss having reading lists. Not that I don’t enjoy my TBR list, or anything, but I liked it in college to have a smallish list of books that were going to enter my life over the course of that semester. The anticipation was fun.

    I loved Life of Pi but have never wanted to read it again. Not sure what that says about the book, but I hope you like it, anyway! 🙂

  26. Michelle says:

    YAY for being excited for school to start. I hope you have a successful semester!

  27. Bellezza says:

    I envy you returning to college. I’d love about a bajillion degrees more, especially in literature.

    I have a love/hate relationship with The Life of Pi, never finishing it the first time I tried. I should pick it up again and give it another shot.

    The best to you in your endeavors. Don’t be nervous! 😉

  28. bethfishreads says:

    I think that’s why I love the fall — a new school year always meant new beginnings and lots new things to learn and discover. Heavy-duty reading list there.

  29. Bookjourney says:

    I have never read Life Of Pi even though it is on my shelf (as all good books are – LOL)

    I need to do that one if these days.

  30. I haven’t read any of those books, but they look like a lot of fun! I think I’m going to miss the first day of school when Boyfriend and my roommate go back and I’m at work. Also, I went to a very small liberal arts college and just loved it. I’m not sure that it was very selective, but I think the environment really did change me for the better.

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