Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Top Ten?

Today I found a surprise gem in my on-campus mailbox: The College of Arts & Letters Gazette.


It's really not much more than a trite newsletter, with articles about all the great things being an A&L major can do for you--complete with pages of encouragement for the looming post-graduation job search that is often difficult for the PLS major lacking marketable skills.

The strangest thing (aside from the trivia contest which only the 'cultured' A&L major could possibly succeed in) must be the list of "10 Books all students should read before they graduate," compiled by Prof. Teresa Ghilarducci of the Economics Department.

In no particular order...

- Envy by Joseph Epstein (2003)
- The Overspent American by Juliet Schor (1998)
- Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury (1999)
- American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (1925)
- The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell (1975)
- The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (2004)
- Golden Notebooks by Doris Lessing (1962)
- Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers by Robert L. Heilbroner (1953)
- The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade by Pietra Rivoli (2005)
- A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul (1979)

Granted, having looked up each of these on Amazon, most of them don't seem half-bad. But they are not quite what I was expecting from a list of necessary texts for liberal arts majors. Perhaps a classic of the Western canon (or two...) might have been a good suggestion?


Anonymous said...

My list of top 10 books to read in no particular order:

-The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevski
-Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Salinger
-The Inferno, by Dante
-Ulysses, by James Joyce
-To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
-Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
-The Republic, by Plato
-The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank
-Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne

Anonymous said...

I'll throw my list in, again in no particular order...

-Symposium [Plato]
-A Confederacy of Dunces [John Kennedy Toole]
-Everlasting Man [G.K. Chesterton]
-Canticle for Leibowitz [Walter M. Miller]
-From Bauhaus to Our House [Tom Wolfe]
-The Roots of American Order [Russell Kirk]
-Confessions [St. Augustine]
-Eichmann in Jerusalem [Hannah Arendt]
-Le Neveu de Remeau [Denis Diderot]
-Where the Wild Things Are [Maurice Sendak]

Joseph Lawler said...

The only book on that list I've heard of is "The Travels of a T-shirt Through the Global economy." You can tell that this list was written by an economist. But seriously, no books from before 1925?

Rachel said...

I feel incredibly unqualified to write this, but here's my top ten. Their inclusion indicates that I've at least read them in part (uh, haven't quite made it through the City of God just yet!):

- The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery)
- Pride & Prejudice (Austen)
- Love & Responsibility (Wojtyla)
- Diary of a Country Priest (Bernanos)
- Democracy in America (de Tocqueville)
- Crime & Punishment (Dostoevsky)
- The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare)
- Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle)
- City of God (Augustine)
- The Story of a Soul (St. Therese of Lisieux)

Matt Smith said...

yeah i thought that was weird, too that there were none from before the depression...

a PLS major lacking marketable skills said...

these are the sorts of books piled up in Hesburgh collecting dust...or the free ones on sale. where are the great books? - aldrich