Monday, August 26, 2013

A Return to a Reading List

Quite some time back, I mentioned a beginning reading list that I came up with in response to a student question.  While I no longer clearly recall the student or the class in which the student asked the question, I have from time to time revisited the idea of a beginning reading list, something that can serve to help students who may have been less overtly and directly socialized into the mainstream cultural background of the American academic humanities than others to integrate more fully.  It continues to trouble me somewhat that the reading list I discuss in that long-ago post is so heavily Anglo- and male-centric as it is, although I must admit that my own reading has not gone as far outside that set as I should like for it to do.  But there are some additions I can make to it, additions that reflect my desire to be more inclusive and capacious in my reading and that reflect, if in only a small way, the ongoing process of globalization that is affecting the entirety of United States mainstream culture.  They are in no particular order:
  • Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
  • Sun Tzu, The Art of War
  • Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
  • Cervantes, Don Quixote
  • Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe
  • Julian of Norwich, Ancrene Riwle
  • Isaac Asimov's Robot and Foundation novels
  • J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes writings
  • Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Twain, Huckleberry Finn
  • Eliot, "The Waste Land"
  • Buck, The Good Earth
  • Morrison, Beloved and The Bluest Eye
  • O'Brien, The Things They Carried
  • Swift, "A Modest Proposal"
  • Jigoro Kano, Kodokan Judo
  • George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series
  • John McWhorter, Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue
  • David Crystal, The Stories of English
  • Harry G. Frankkfurt, On Bullshit
  • Phyllis Wheatley's poetry
  • Anne Bradstreet's poetry
As I noted before, I note again: there are many, many others that can be added to such a list.  Perhaps, in time, I will return to the list again.

Until then, there is this to consider: What does it mean to have a standard reading list?

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