Graduation yesterday was wonderful! Corey did a great job on his speech, as did the other presenters. Best of all, the weather was fantastic. Crystal clear and just warm enough. Fletcher holds ceremonies in the late morning, following the all-university event. Details on the Fletcher ceremony will go up on the web site soon.

(Unrelated to this year’s graduation, the Boston Globe ran a wonderful story on Saturday about one of our alums, Farah Pandith, who graduated in 1995.)

But back to this year’s graduates. At our thank-you lunch last week, some students were talking about the reading they were doing. Specifically, they were saying how remarkable it was to be reading something that they had chosen themselves, and that had no relevance to any academic work they had done or would do. So I asked around to see what everyone was reading. This can serve as the first of the summer’s recommended reading lists. I’ll stick to using their first names only.

Corey, seeking diversion from his speech-writing, turned to a fantasy novel, and then to his stack of unread New Yorker magazines. He says, “I started with the cartoons.”

David recommends Les Particules Elémentaires by the French writer Michel Houellebecq, which he calls a “controversial but very interesting book.”

Evelyne tells me that sometimes reading is just too exhausting and, as a result, she has been “reading” the same book all semester:  Where’s Bin Laden? by Xavier Waterkeyn.  

Drew breaks down his reading by categories.

Non-fiction: When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa by Peter Godwin
Fiction: Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
Poetry: Mark Strand’s latest Selected Poems

And, he says he has been “cycling through art critic David Hickey’s essays in the book Air Guitar for the last few years. Can’t recommend that book enough.”

Josh told me he just finished reading Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor.

And, last, Steve is reading Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck, and recommends it “to all who might be interested in the adventurous search for love and wine by a group of down-and-out figures living on the fringes of society in Monterrey, California.”

If you find yourself looking for the books that people with tired but newly educated minds turn to, you could do worse than to choose something from this list.


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