professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Doing it the right way

Hamilton College is asking its students to read a common book for discussion. They are not alone in this. A recent article provided the titles of books from a dozen or so colleges ( However, the description and selection from Hamilton College struck a resonant chord for me. Here is the book, EVOCATIVE OBJECTS: THINGS WE THINK WITH by Sherry Turkle.

evocative objects

And here is the statement from Hamilton about the common reading experience plans:

"Humans are needy. We need things: objects, keepsakes, items, stuff, tokens, knickknacks, bit and pieces, junk and treasures. We carry special objects in our pockets and purses, place them on shelves in our homes and offices, and from time to time bring them out and look at them, touch them, listen to them, smell them. Our objects mark special times and places. They serve as mementos from the past, goals for the future, and points of connection to others: friends, heroes, lovers, and ancestors.

... The theme of the 2012 Common Reading Experience centers around the objects that make us who we are, on the objects we have come to love. From teddy bears to technology, blankets to basketballs, clothes to cameras, we identify ourselves in and through the objects we own and engage. Through a common reading, supplemented by lectures, exhibitions, gatherings, and imbedded into courses, we will embark on an investigation of the 'stuff' of our lives."

Look at the rationale for this selection. It starts with the basic concept of who we are as individual HUMANS and the things we need, the objects we hold special. And that is the focus of the discussion that will occur. No tests. No stress. Personal response and writing. No soulless responses to a book that talks about what we cherish. Note the inclusion of lectures, exhibits, etc. in a variety of courses. THIS is the way to go about a common reading experience.

After reading this blurb within the article, I knew I had to read this book. That is motivating readers in a nutshell. Tell me about the book but tie it to my life. It is refreshing to see this thought and care given to the reading experience.
Tags: authentic, common read, reading
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