"I am a Minnesotan by birth and a traveler in wild places by vocation and compulsion." -Paul Gruchow

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Night Before Christmas, I Mean, The Semester

It's the afternoon before the new semester and all through the 400 sq ft apartment, nobody is moving, not even the furballs who haven't budged since 9:00 this morning and who I occasionally check to see if they're still breathing.  The sun is brilliant through my windows that are not west-facing and it's just a great afternoon.  I spent the morning chatting with a friend I haven't seen for the summer and now I'm wondering what I do with the rest of my time before I head to bed, dream of dancing syllabi, and wake to the butterflies of the first day of class--and hope it's not the dream where I show up to the first day to a class I didn't know I was supposed to teach and I'm naked.

This semester, I'm trying something different:  I'm sending my reading list (and my syllabi) to various friends and family, in hopes that they might be interested enough to read along with my class and me (because what we're reading is really interesting, if I do say so myself)--so when I talk to them about what I'm doing in my classes, they'll know what I'm talking about.

So.  Here's the reading lists:

151H:  Silent Spring, Rachel Carson; The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot.

180:  Poe ( “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “Fall of the House of Usher,” “A Cask of Amontillado” ); Arthur Conan Doyle ("A Scandal in Bohemia," "The Speckled Band," "The Red-Headed League"); Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap"; the 1946 version of The Big Sleep (with Bogart and Bacall); Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca; Dennis Lehane's Mystic River; William Kent Krueger's Iron Lake; Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation.  And we'll read an excerpt of Joy Castro's novel, Hell or High Water, because she's kindly agreed to come to our class to talk about it.

There it is.  If you're wanting a more specific reading schedule, let me know and I'll send you one.  Otherwise, keep checking in here and feel free to comment when we get to a book you're reading along with us.  Here's to expanding our community of readers and writers!


  1. Loved the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Which Poe and which Doyle are you reading?

  2. I just updated the post to include them--only three Poe and three Doyle. And The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is indeed brilliant. That should be a really fun project when we get to it. Are you going to read with us? :)