Sun 26 Dec, 2004 07:44 pm
If you could impose five books on every college freshman--what would they be?
Blasting through thousands of years of progress in a semester can leave you wistfully looking in your textbook at an italicized title of something you KNOW you need to read--but a student can barely keep up with the assigned reading material--much less add to their reading list. When we careened through the Renaissance, I jotted down about eight titles. I know I'll never get to them all--and that's ONE era and one subject.
I'd like to try to squeeze in valuable books during holidays, time off... But, I'm looking for Must Reads.
Would really appreciate your titles. (You can leave out American and British classic literature.)
Here are three . . .
Here are three "Must Read" books from Roger Freeman, University of California, Santa Barbara:
for all college students
All of the books listed below are available in inexpensive paperback editions. They should be on every college freshman's bookshelf.
Study is Hard Work by William H. Armstrong
2nd (1995) edition, published by David R. Godine (ISBN 156792025X)
Click here to order
Comments from the publisher: This little classic, an indispensable vade mecum for the serious student, is in our opinion the best single guide ever published on how to acquire and maintain effective study skills. William H. Armstrong is best known for SOUNDER, winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal. But while his writing talents are of the first rank, his real calling is as a teacher, and it is from this experience that he conceived and organized this extraordinary guide. Divided into fourteen chapters, the book covers everything from developing a vocabulary to judging the quality of, and improving, written work. There are chapters devoted to the study of mathematics, science, and languages, and others about taking tests or effectively using libraries. Each one begins and ends with a series of questions that provide insights into both the students' aptitudes and their attitudes. Learning how to study is among the most important skills we can acquire, says Mr. Armstrong, and these skills and disciplines are best acquired when young.
Few books are as sorely needed as this one. An alarming number of students have deplorable study skills, are unable to express themselves effectively, and cannot accept that results come at the price of effort. Yes, study is hard work, but the rewards it yields go far beyond the initial investment. This little book is a lifesaver for anyone concerned with getting through high school and into college on the right foot.
"Although I have never been in William Armstrong's classroom, I know that he is a great teacher. I know this because I have read his book, STUDY IS HARD WORK. This uncompromising title foreshadows the clarity and honesty contained within the covers. Armstrong understands as much about the facts of learning as any author I know. The student who reads him and attends him carefully will be prepared not merely for success in school, but something far more important: a life of self-fulfillment. David R. Godine is to be praised for bringing this remarkable book before the public in a new edition." -- John R. Silber, President, Boston University
"William Armstrong is a great teacher. He speaks truthfully about the discipline required for learning, and about the pleasures of order and system in acquiring knowledge. Any reader, of any age, will enjoy this book." -- Jill Ker Conway, Author and former President of Smith College
Good Teaching: A Guide for Students by Richard A. Watson
First (1997) edition, published by Southern Illinois Univ Press (ISBN: 0809321114)
Click here to order
Comments from the publisher: From junior college to Ivy League university, the level of teaching ranges from "great to awful," according to Richard A. Watson, who explains not only how to survive but how to profit from and enjoy your college experience. To help students make important personal choices - What school? What major? What classes? - Watson discusses such broad areas as administrative structure, institutional goals, and faculty aspirations. Charging the student with the ultimate responsibility for learning, Watson presents certain academic facts of life: teaching is not the primary concern of either faculty or administration in most institutions; few professors on the university level have had any training in teaching, and even fewer started out with teaching as their goal; senior professors do not teach much - the higher the rank and salary, the less time in the classroom - and those seeking tenure must emphasize research to survive; and almost certainly, the bad teacher who is a good researcher will get paid more than the good teacher who does not publish. This is a book about good teaching and how to find it. Rejecting the conventional wisdom that a professor devoted to research will not be good in the classroom, Watson advises that you take classes from that "old bear" you are afraid of, from the professor you may have been cautioned to avoid.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White
Fourth edition, published by Pearson Higher Education (ISBN: 020530902X)
Click here to order
Some reviews of this classic:
The New York Times: Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility.
The New Yorker: The work remains a nonpareil: direct, correct, and delightful.
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, this "excellent book, which should go off to college with every freshman, is recognized as the best book of its kind we have." It should be the ". . . daily companion of anyone who writes for a living and, for that matter, anyone who writes at all" (Greensboro Daily News). "No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume" (The Boston Globe).[/quote]
For "variety" to round out the requisite five, add a history: "History of the English-Speaking People(?)", or other, and a generic science book. If I think of some "good choices," I'll be back.[/color]
That was sweet of you, Charli. Thanks.
"Study is Hard Work"---I feel like I could WRITE that one... <kidding>
I'll look these up. I appreciate your help!
I've noticed more and more colleges are recomending a book for the incoming Freshman class to read.
My guess is that the particular book is not nearly as important as the shared experience; the meeting ground for conversation among unsophisticated strangers; and the chance to remind the incomers that college is supposed to be a learning experience.
The Strunk & White style book has been my constant companion for many a year. Thinking about the other four.
Goddess!!! Thinking (which means bookmark, in hopes my brain will work...)
Lash - what sorts of areas????
I am an English literature, therapist and philosophy sort of person - what are you studying towards, or are you wanting general open up vistas sorts of books???
I'm going into Humanities Education (Political Science, psychology, history, literature...),
but looking for all areas. Like a good condensed book of ...philosophers who shaped government-- A good book on Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau--
Or how to use psychology as a teaching tool
Or Medieval or Renaissance-era books that you consider of premiere relevance...
Or just general knowledge books...
Thanks everyone-- I know I'll get some great ideas!
Well, for classic philosophy starters, I don't think you can beat Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy"
Some of the modern ethicists - Peter Singer - (here is one book http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/052143971X/qid=
1104125857/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-8255801-9803043?v=glance&s=books ) comes to mind will challenge your socks off - if you get hold of a Singer book, (library) his list of other writers - you know, in his cites and such - is likely to lead you into the depths of modern and ancient ethics - dang it, I nearly bought a text on ethics recently which I thought very good - can't recall it. As you know - the essence of a good liberal (in the non-scary to you sense - lol!) education is to have all your world assumptions knocked off their feet, pummeled, bruised, demolished and to start again - these are a good beginning! Though - you have probably well begun, no? Not sure how much you have already read/studied - I certainly don't want to suggest stuff you demolished in your cradle!!!!
Russell's looks like a good choice. Thanks!!
I wouldn't choose an ethics book--but that may be the reason that one would be a better choice for me.
Damn - when I unstretched your thread, I broke the link - nemmind.
Don't worry about linking it--just give me the title. I like them so far. Good ideas.
lash - I don't recall any of my teaching psychology - and it would be way out of date by now - but I have good stuff about brain development and such - any interest?
In my world nothing is Off Topic or Irrelevant for a good teacher.
Anything readable and very useful. Something you referred back to maybe after school...
Noddy-- I tend to agree with you--but my reading time is finite.
The really postive thing about finishing university is the ability to sit down and enjoy a good book, in the meantime suffer. However (1) The Western Intellectual Tradition by Jacob Bronoski (2) Science and the Modern World by Alfred North Whitehead (3) The Dwarf by Par Lagerqvist (sp) (4) Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (5) the Socratic Dialogues by Plato (6) The Education of Henry Adams (Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education) by Henry Adams and (7) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig.
Thanks dys. I'm excited to look these up. I was wondering if I'd get a science recommendation--and its ...an area I could use a little... padding.
I've got a few days left of Christmas vacation--and I'm planning to start one tonight. I've heard a bunch of great reviews of # (7).
I'm going to try to read excerpts from as many of these on the thread as I can.
(I'm piqued by (1), (3), and (4))
<Twirling around the room>
The Odyssey (with a good translation). It was required when I was a freshman, and I recently reread it. A one-book foundation in Western Civilization...
Thanks, d'art. I did read that one, and The Iliad, in high school--but did love them--'specially The Iliad.
But, I agree with you. They are Must Reads for my major. (Matter of fact-- I could use a refresher. Been a while.)
I felt like I knew the literature classics I haven't yet gotten around to--it was the other stuff I couldn't pin down.
I appreciate your help.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig.
I just went and bought this for my freshman son! LOL
Husker-- You'll have to tell him to check in and commiserate (complain) with me as he progresses. Plus, ask him to give you feedback on the book. I'm interested in what he has to say about it.
What's his major--or has he decided yet? (Ugh. Why is it every time you ask someone their major, it sounds like a ridiculous pick up line from the 70's?)
My son has waffled off of Computer Science--and is in Limbo Hell (His love is History, but he doesn't have the confidence that he can get a college teaching gig.) My daughter feels pretty sure about Psychology.
PS-- Dys, thanks. I'm going to send it to my son, as well.