Monthly Archives: April 2013

The sun is shining: summer reading

The sun is shining.  People have cautiously put away their winter coats and left their gloves at home. It is that short time in Michigan, that precious time between the basement freezer and the frying pan.  

And we all have finals. Papers. Exams. Presentations.  Our lives are put on hold as our determination, smarts, and self-worth are put to the test. 

So instead of talking about what is in my backpack or my bed stand (schoolbooks and empty coffee mugs), I shall look forward to better things. Here is my summer reading list:

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I love Margaret Atwood. I once heard her speak and she was so hilarious, so poignant and so intelligent. My sister and I got our beloved copy of The Blind Assassin signed, but were too in awe to actually speak to her. I also love sci-fi and love stories. Oryxand Crake is both those things. It is the tale of a post-apocalyptic world mutated by unscrupulous genetic engineering and a love triangle, I understand, is somehow involved. I’m excited to see how Margaret Atwood pulls it all together.

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon  

I saw this book on the New York Time’s Best of 2012 book list. It immediately attracted my eye. Far from the Tree is about parents with children that are far different from themselves, parents of prodigies, schizophrenics, and more.  I’ve come to the age where I am self-aware enough to be afraid of turning into my mother. I’m hoping this book will give some helpful. On a more serious note, within the premise I detect a question I think most college students have asked themselves or will ask themselves: are we fated to live like our parents?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

At first, I did not want to read this book. The main character has cancer in it. Cancer.  The plot device of plot devices to create drama, make a hero sympathetic and play on the audience’s emotions through their fear of death. Yet far too many people have recommended it to me for me to continue resisting the inevitable. Moreover, the author is on youtube, and he’s quite awesome. So I’ll give it a try. But I will look at the end of the book first to be prepared for any deaths.

Special Powers and Abilities by Raymond McDaniel and Thunderbird by Dorothea Lasky

I have a confession to make. I don’t like most poetry. I’m extraordinarily picky, and I’m not even one of those annoying people who don’t think it’s a poem if it doesn’t rhyme.  My issue with poetry is that it can often be esoteric and pointless, or formulaic and pointless. However, my increased involvement with Xylem and all the wonderful poems you guys have submitted has made me want to try harder to appreciate poetry.  The only poetry books I’ve managed to read on my own are Meditations in an Emergency and Ariel.  In my poetry appreciation development, I am the picky eater trying to expand my tastes to include things other than the old stalwarts of macroni and cheese and chocolate milk. So I’ve decided to read two books of poetry, to take some tiny bites towards expanding my diet.  Special Powers and Abilities by Raymond McDaniel, a faculty member here who I heard speak, is the first. It is a work of poems inspired by superheroes. It sounds just strange enough that I won’t get bored, but not so pretentious that I’ll rage-quit. The second, Thunderbird, by Dorothea Lasky just jumped out at me on the Boston Globes’s Best of list with these lines:

And the townspeople, they say to you/ That they may have seen/ A monster/ But no no I was only the dawn.”

On that note, I remember the “dawn” is coming: in other words exams.  I want to wish you all best of luck with your finals and also thank all of you who came to Xylem Live. It was truly a special night. All the people who shared their music, poetry and prose reminded me just how talented and creative this campus is and all the people who made up the audience reminded me how welcoming and warm this campus is too.  The performances and turnout were fantastic. And we gave away over a hundred Xylem magazines. So snatch one up if you see it because they are going fast.

–Julia Adams, Xylem Copy Manager