Your Non-Required Reading List

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.