Books that built the college student

''I can always tell when you're reading somewhere in the house,' my mother used to say ' I never heard it, this extra degree of hush that somehow travelled through walls and ceilings to announce that my seven-year-old self had become about as absent as a present person could be ' As my concentration on the story in my hands took hold, all sounds faded away.' ' Francis Spufford

A few weeks ago, I came across a book called "The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading" by Francis Spufford that immediately spoke to me as someone who loves literature, and who was shaped by a love of reading. It is interesting to read an author who writes thought-provoking literature that extends from deep insights concerning theology, to conversations about the books that made him who he is.

I am excited to have the opportunity to write the literature column this semester for the Clarion. This column will focus on works you might be interested in reading, up-and-coming authors, reading/writing related events at Lee, etc. There is always so much going on in the world of literature, and I look forward to sharing those things with you.

Whether you fell in love with "The Berenstain Bears" when you were 4 years old, "The Great Gatsby" in high school or "Long Day's Journey into Night" freshman year, stories are important to us. They connect us to the children we were when we walked the mystical aisles of book stores, and libraries where the experience of choosing a book was as important a matter as Harry Potter choosing his wand.

Whether you reread the same book a hundred times in your youth, or you read everything from cereal boxes to road signs, I was the stereotypical kid who read books by flashlight telling myself 'Just one more page.' It seemed fitting that I would become an English major. I am not entirely sure why I love books so much, or namely, rereading them. This summer I found myself in a used book store having picked up a copy of "Inkheart" (one of my favorite books growing up), and stashed myself away somewhere to leaf through it in reverent nostalgia. Ten minutes later, I walked out the front door with my newly purchased old friend in hand.

So, in the midst of reading Orwell, Shakespeare, Milton or Augustine for one of your classes this semester, remember that these authors, and their writings, have the same potential to impact you as the books you read when you were younger.

If you're looking for a short novel to read, I recommend:

"Fahrenheit 451" ' Ray Bradbury

"The Giver" series ' Lois Lowry

"The Sense of an Ending" ' Julian Barnes

"The Great Gatsby" ' F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Autobiography of Red" ' Anne Carson

The English department is hosting a book group on Monday nights at 7 p.m. in the Vest lounge. You certainly do not have to be a part of the English department to attend; it is open to anyone who loves to discuss literature. Email Kevin Brown, professor of English (, for more information.

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