Tag Archives: Stoner

Ms. Mentor’s Summer Reading List

June 5, 2016 – chronicle.com

Reading the Classics of Academic Literature. Five lofty texts about professors and learning for your summer book list

 

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Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members

 

August 7, 2014 – Slate

Strongest Possible Endorsement by Rebecca Schuman

1“For Dear Committee Members isn’t really an academic novel, or even an academic satire (since most of its depictions of Payne University barely count as hyperbole). It’s a sincere exploration of the depths and breadths of human selfishness, and the contemporary American academy is simply the backdrop, precisely because nowhere else could Fitger’s particular sort of self-obsession be given the autonomy to both metastasize and self-immolate. So in the end, it is exactly Fitger’s selfishness that destructs, rather than his life—and although his semi-redemption may not redeem the rank carcass of academic culture that continues to fester around him, it’s more than enough to recommend this mischievous novel.”

August 13, 2014 – NPR

In A Funny New Novel, A Weary Professor Writes To ‘Dear Committee Members’ by Maureen Corrigan

 

August 17, 2014 – Macleans
August 19, 2014 – Inside Higher Ed
August 25, 2014 – Chronicle of Higher Education
An Academic Novel with a Twist by Jeffrey J. Williams
November 6, 2014 – The Independent
“But perhaps the challenge Schumacher and other writers face is that the university now is almost beyond parody.”

John Williams’ 1965 Stoner: An Afterlife

1“Whatever the reasons for its cooler reception in the US, I don’t agree that the novel is ‘minor’; nor do I think it is ‘great’ in the way that, say, Gatsby or Updike’s Rabbit quartet are great. I think Williams himself got it right: it is ‘substantially good.’ It is good, and it has considerable substance, and gravity, and continuation in the mind afterwards. And it is a true ‘reader’s novel,’ in the sense that its narrative reinforces the very value of reading and study. Many will be reminded of their own lectoral epiphanies, of those moments when the magic of literature first made some kind of distant sense, first suggested that this might be the best way of understanding life. And readers are also aware that this sacred inner space, in which reading and ruminating and being oneself happen, is increasingly threatened by what Stoner refers to as ‘the world’ – which is nowadays full of hectic interference with, and constant surveillance of, the individual. Perhaps something of this anxiety lies behind the renaissance of the novel. But you should – indeed must – find out for yourself.”

December 13, 2013 – The Guardian

Stoner: the must-read novel of 2013 by Julian Barnes

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/13/stoner-john-williams-julian-barnes

 

January 22, 2014 – livemint

John Williams’ ‘Stoner’: A triumph of literature over common sense by G. Sampath

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/dT7AXcGkotABxXzQveTwIL/John-Williams-Stoner-A-triumph-of-literature-over-common.html

 

June 6, 2013 – The Millions

A Forgotten Bestseller: The Saga of John Williams’s Stoner by Claire Cameron

http://www.themillions.com/2013/06/a-forgotten-bestseller-the-saga-of-john-williamss-stoner.html

 

August 23, 2013 – Die Presse

“Stoner”: Spröde, aber meisterlich by Eva Steindorfer

http://diepresse.com/home/kultur/literatur/1444883/Stoner_Sprode-aber-meisterlich

About that back-to-school nostalgia

1“Even when you have finished your schooling, it’s hard to forget the gut-churning excitement, the strange objectless yearnings, that accompany the beginning of the academic year. This is as true, I think, for kindergartners as it is for those completing their final year of college (graduate school, by all reports, is another, far more hellish story). But it is perhaps most intense during our undergraduate days. This mingled ease and pain attains to a special plangency in America, where the past, perhaps because we have so little of it, becomes mythic almost immediately, which I proffer as a reason for the preponderance of American books among those mentioned below. Or you can blame my deep-seated jingoistic urges […] here are eight of the very best books providing the drug of nostalgia we all crave, now that we’re sliding down—as Tom Lehrer once sang—the razor blade of life.”

8/13/2012 – The Daily Beast

Must-Read College Novels: From “Lucky Jim” to “Pnin” by Sam Munson

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/13/must-read-college-novels-from-lucky-jim-to-pnin.html

“Indulging in some late-August back-to-school nostalgia, the Daily Beast put together a list of “Must-Read College Novels” ranging from Kingsley Amis’Lucky Jim to John Williams’ Stoner. As a fan of college, books, and college books, I thought I’d work up a supplementary list: the principal ingredients that no college novel can do without.”

8/27/2012, The Airship

Back to School: A List of Essentials for the College Novel by Kayla Blatchley

http://airshipdaily.com/blog/back-school-list-essentials-college-novel

Good books, bad books

1“All writers have been students, and nowadays a sizable number are teachers, so it seems nearly unavoidable that we write about the golden groves we knew.

It’s easy to dismiss “Tom Brown’s School Days” or “Stover at Yale,” or to make fun — as Tom Wolfe did more recently in “I Am Charlotte Simmons” — of a fictionalized Duke University. But there’s a sizable shelf of books about bookishness — some of them first-rate — which take education as their subject and explore the idea of learning as initiation rite. As with any other category (the Southern novel, the Jewish novel, the on-the-road novel) there are excellent and execrable texts. It’s a question not so much of genre as of how well it’s done. […]

As suggested above, there are bad books as well that deal with the circumstance of education. The professoriate makes an easy target; so does the undergraduate. Often a writer gets tempted to make intellectual molehills into mountains; lord knows it’s easy enough to overstate the cultural significance of freshman year. The risk is that of stereotype and even caricature: the absent-minded professor, the scheming administrator, the idealistic and then disillusioned student — stock figures from English 101. But the college campus is no more and no less fertile a place to situate a story than is, say, a boxing ring or tenement or cattle barn.”

April 13, 2012, Chicago Tribune

English 101 by Nicholas Delbanco

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-prj-0415-book-of-the-month-20120413,0,154025.story

“The best campus novels have a comic, rueful touch […]”

1“I’ve always been drawn to novels set in the academy. I like the parochial closed world in which incompatible people are forced to come to terms with one another. I like the relatively high tolerance for oddity and the relatively low threat of physical violence. I like characters who speak in complete sentences, use lofty vocabulary and sprinkle their repartee with literary references.”

September 6, 2011, The Wall Street Journal

Back to School by Cynthia Crossen

David Lodge on campus novels

September 24, 2010 11:34 pm, Financial Times

“The campus novel emerged as higher education expanded and novelists increasingly took day jobs in universities. Inherently comic and satirical, it is focused on the lives of academic staff rather than their students, and explores the gap between the high ideals of the institution and the human weaknesses of its members.”

The List: Five of the best campus novels

David Lodge on Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin

Other top tens, top fives etc.:

Jeffrey Moore’s top 10 campus novels:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/jul/03/bestbooks.fiction

10 Classic Campus Novels:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/10-classic-campus-novels_n_857756.html#s274149&title=Gaudy_Night

Literature of the campus:

http://theconcordian.com/2013/09/articulate-literature-of-the-campus/

Top 5 Campus Novels Written by Women by Jane Bradley:

http://forbookssake.net/2013/07/05/top-five-campus-novels-written-by-women/