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It’s been over a month since we last hefted a textbook-stuffed backpack.  Finals seem like old nightmares that once terrorized us, but have since been replaced with the blissful days of summer.  After a much-needed break from the brain strain of exams, we’re ready to kick back with a delicious new book of our choice.  Summer reading is not required: no memorization, paper-cranking, or classroom participation will follow.  So, peruse The Forum’s literary suggestions for a book you won’t be able to put down…unless it’s to grab another cold one from the fridge.

Nine Stories (J.D. Salinger)

This collection of short stories from Holden Caufield’s creator will have you at hello.  Salinger exposes each of his characters’ secret complexities, offering the reader a penetrating glimpse of what makes humans tick.  Tinged with the sadness of wartime loss, poignant stories like “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish” and “For Esme” entrance the reader.

Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir (Ander Monson)

Graaaaaaa!!! This is Ander Monson lashing out at the virus that is the confessional memoir in American literature.  Monson grapples with the compulsion of self-interest and the “I” in his series of inventive, ever-engaging meditations.  Lose yourself in this eccentric writer’s collection of essays.

Drop City (T.C. Boyle)

Travel back in time to the scene of 1970s counterculture with T.C. Boyle’s psychedelic, sociological novel.  Free love, hallucinogens, and peace signs are blurred by a brooding insecurity about nonconformity.  Boyle floats from the California hippie commune to an isolated cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, a setting shift that allows the reader to examine and contrast off-the-grid lifestyles.

Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

What would the world look like without leaders?  Ayn Rand’s monumental work explores a dystopian America in which the nation’s innovators—industrialists, artists, government officials—withdraw from the scene.  Rand emphasizes the necessity of these creative minds to the productivity and growth of society.  Be prepared for a philosophical journey…Rand isn’t a beach read.

Been Down So Long Looks Like Up To Me (Richard Fariña)

Enter Gnossos Pappadapoulis, arch-nemesis of academia’s bureaucracy.  Even though CMC is arguably among the most nurturing colleges, we’ve all been frustrated with the system at one point or another.  Fariña’s legendary Greek student-cum-rebel takes a stand against The Man in 1960s style in this haunting yet hilarious novel.

Interview Magazine

Andy Warhol’s ever-relevant magazine, started in 1969, features easy-to-read Q&A format interviews between random pop culture greats.  Expect the unexpected: Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, Andrew W.K. (ha ha), and Ke$ha are just a few recent interviewers/interviewees.  A+ photographs from the likes of Annie Liebovitz and Bruce Weber abound.  Profanity and nudity are not off-limits for this envelope-pushing publication.

  • Philosophy Major

    Ayn Rand : Philosophy :: Pomona : New England Liberal Arts College.

    (i.e. not the real thing)

  • Philosophy Major

    Ayn Rand : Philosophy :: Pomona : New England Liberal Arts College.

    (i.e. not the real thing)

  • Nico
  • Nico
  • El Santo

    I had to read Nine Stories in high school and definitely did not appreciate it, reading it now it’s a completely different book. Good suggestion!

  • El Santo

    I had to read Nine Stories in high school and definitely did not appreciate it, reading it now it’s a completely different book. Good suggestion!

  • Could someone explain why Ayn Rand isn’t philosophy?

    I mean, it’s not the kind of relativist Rawls crap that we usually get in our non-political philosophy philosophy courses, but it’s not half bad if you actually read it through.

    • Jillian

      Hmmm… I think Ayn Rand is not the end-all-be-all of philosophers, but I think her books are not only interesting to many people, but thought-provoking. While they maybe don’t count as major works of philosophy, they seemed to me to be philosophical or, rather, to provoke the reader into being philosophical – that’s why I liked her books as summer reading.

  • Could someone explain why Ayn Rand isn’t philosophy?

    I mean, it’s not the kind of relativist Rawls crap that we usually get in our non-political philosophy philosophy courses, but it’s not half bad if you actually read it through.

    • Jillian

      Hmmm… I think Ayn Rand is not the end-all-be-all of philosophers, but I think her books are not only interesting to many people, but thought-provoking. While they maybe don’t count as major works of philosophy, they seemed to me to be philosophical or, rather, to provoke the reader into being philosophical – that’s why I liked her books as summer reading.

  • Nico

    I mean Ayn Rand is a relatively entertaining read and I do not mind her writing style…but the explanation for why she is not philosophy is kindly explained by the earlier posted link.

  • Nico

    I mean Ayn Rand is a relatively entertaining read and I do not mind her writing style…but the explanation for why she is not philosophy is kindly explained by the earlier posted link.

  • Alex

    Not sure if they original person was saying Ayn Rand is not a philosopher, or “Atlas Shrugged” wasn’t a work of philosophy.

    Ayn Rand is certainly a philosopher, but her two most famous novels are not true philosophy in some people’s minds – they show Rand speculating on the implications of her philosophical beliefs and premises, but there is no rigorous argumentation for why her approach to philosophy and ethics, what was labeled objectivism, is the correct one (although many of her later academic work attempted to provide this argument).

    While she was a philosopher, many criticize her merit as one – including the well known libertarian Robert Nozick and William F. Buckley Jr. Check out Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a much more in depth breakdown of Rand: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/

  • Alex

    Not sure if they original person was saying Ayn Rand is not a philosopher, or “Atlas Shrugged” wasn’t a work of philosophy.

    Ayn Rand is certainly a philosopher, but her two most famous novels are not true philosophy in some people’s minds – they show Rand speculating on the implications of her philosophical beliefs and premises, but there is no rigorous argumentation for why her approach to philosophy and ethics, what was labeled objectivism, is the correct one (although many of her later academic work attempted to provide this argument).

    While she was a philosopher, many criticize her merit as one – including the well known libertarian Robert Nozick and William F. Buckley Jr. Check out Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a much more in depth breakdown of Rand: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/

  • TJ

    Tender is the night, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    Catch 22, Joseph Conrad.

    Believe it.

    • sup TJ!

      I finally got around to reading the Great Gatsby a few weeks ago and I was absolutely floored. Still trying to find a book that lives up to it. Would you say that Tender is the Night is a good one to read next?

      • CC

        Tender in the Night is wonderful. I don’t think that it is as good as Gatsby, but it is definately worth the read. I liked The Beautiful and Damned too.

  • TJ

    Tender is the night, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    Catch 22, Joseph Conrad.

    Believe it.

    • sup TJ!

      I finally got around to reading the Great Gatsby a few weeks ago and I was absolutely floored. Still trying to find a book that lives up to it. Would you say that Tender is the Night is a good one to read next?

      • CC

        Tender in the Night is wonderful. I don’t think that it is as good as Gatsby, but it is definately worth the read. I liked The Beautiful and Damned too.

  • Patrick Bateman

    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

  • Patrick Bateman

    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

  • Shamil

    Thank you for the article Erica, glad you always bring fresh perceptive to campus. I am particularly interested in getting my hands on “Nine Stories”.

  • Shamil

    Thank you for the article Erica, glad you always bring fresh perceptive to campus. I am particularly interested in getting my hands on “Nine Stories”.

  • Shamil

    * perspective (typo, oops)

  • Shamil

    * perspective (typo, oops)

  • Jillian

    Also, great suggestions Erica!

    J.D. Salinger sounds great! I’m reading “Sometimes a Great Notion” by Ken Kesey, which is also interesting, but I can’t wait to take a look at your suggestions!

  • Jillian

    Also, great suggestions Erica!

    J.D. Salinger sounds great! I’m reading “Sometimes a Great Notion” by Ken Kesey, which is also interesting, but I can’t wait to take a look at your suggestions!