The English Department invites you to complete the list. What is the list? It is easier to say what it is not than what it is. It is not a list of books that represents the canon. It is not even a list of all our favorite books or all the great works we hope you will someday read. Rather, it is the list of books that emerged when we asked this question of ourselves: what books do we think are essential, what books do we think no one—and in particular, no English major—should leave college without having read? And gave ourselves this limitation: we could each only offer up five books for the list and at least three of those had to come from our area of specialization. So, the list is idiosyncratic in the best sense of the word: we each struggled individually to identify the five books we thought it most essential for you to read while in college; the books that emerged from those individual choices became “The List.”
We hope you will take the challenge to read these books along with us. For those of you who complete all 61 books, you get to make a difficult choice yourself: you get to choose a book or work of literature to add to the list. For those of you who complete 50 works from the list, we will buy you a copy of your favorite work from the list, inscribe it, and then invite you at the end of the year to join us at a literary salon where we discuss these wonderful works.
Here’s how the challenge works:
- Sign up in the English Department office (Hollenbeck 102) if you want to take the challenge. You have your college years to complete the list. If you want to print an alphabetized List to check off as you go,, or if you want one divided by professor as below, — you can also pick either one up in the office when you sign up for the challenge.
- When you finish reading a work of literature from the list, pick up a slip from the English Department office to fill out with your name and the title of the book.
- Take that slip with you and talk with the professor(s) who recommended the book about what you found most interesting about the work, and get his/her signature on your completion slip. Return the slip to the English Department office.
- When you complete 50 works, there is cause for celebration: a gift of a book and the promised party are forthcoming. If you complete all 61, you have earned the right to name your own essential book and alumni will be contacting you in the future and letting you know what they found interesting about your selection.
- To find the book in the Thomas Library or through OhioLink click the book title. To find the book on Amazon.com, click the icon to the left of the title.
Dr. Lori Askeland
Dr. Ty Buckman
Dr. Robert Davis
Professor D'Arcy Fallon
Dr. Scot Hinson
Dr. Robin Inboden
Dr. Rick Incorvati
Dr. Michael Mattison
Dr. Michael McClelland
Professor Jody Rambo
Dr. Cynthia Richards
Dr. Carmiele Wilkerson
Flatland, Edwin A. Abbott (Mr. Hildebrandt is the first student to complete The List - including an additional 15 selections from Emeriti professors Kent and Mimi Dixon, and from former professor J. Fitz Smith, May 2012)