Julia Rosén Staff Writer
In only two weeks, LIU Post students will trade in their school bags for beach bags and go on a much needed summer break. The time for exams, all-nighters, early classes, but most importantly – textbooks, will be over. Instead of spending hours upon hours read- ing textbooks such as Modern Operating Systems for Computer Science class, or The Norton An- thology of Western Literature for English class, students will have the time to read books that interest them.
Nicole Cosentino, a second year English Literature graduate student, is looking forward to reading On The Road, the story of Jack Kerouac’s travels with his friends across America. She will also look out for TsiTsi Dangarembga’s final book of her trilogy that will be published over the summer. Cosentino believes that reading over the summer is vital for students regardless of their major. She believes that reading is a great way for students to sharpen their minds and enhance their vocabulary.
Cosentino says that she usually read two books a month when school is in session, but when she has time off, she likes to read a book a week. “[It] is a wonderful way to spend extra time; it is a relaxing activity that enhances creativity, vocabulary, and recall ability.” Cosentino’s favorite literary choices right now are the pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial genres, and she will be sure to read those sorts of books over the summer. She believes that these particular genres are a great way to explore trends in traditions and culture, and how they present themselves today. Cosentino also recommends old classics like Fran- kenstein by Mary Shelley, about a scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque monster in sci- entific experiment.
She also suggests Heart of the Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a short novel presented as a frame narrative about the character Charles and his job as an ivory transporter down the Congo River. These books have themes that are even relevant today. She states, “There is something out there for everyone! I say ditch the standard Barnes & Noble experience and take a trip to The Book Revue in Huntington Village. The establish- ment has a treasure trove of local writers’ works, as well as antique novels and guest speakers.”
Dr. Margaret Hallissy, an English Professor at Post, reads a lot of books not only because it is a part of her job, but because she, as she would call herself, is a “book addict.” She can’t really say if she reads more or less books over the summer months because she always reads several books at the same time, regardless of the sea- son; she buys more books than she can handle. She states that she is “hoarding them, as if a book famine were imminent.” She states, “Over the summer, I always read works allied to my fall courses. This fall, I am teaching a History of Irish Literature class, and so I have on my desk some recent Irish fiction that I may or may not cover in the class, but certainly want to read. Roddy Doyle’s, The Dead Republic, is the third book in a trilogy focus- ing on Henry Smart, a young man born in 1900 that lives through and participates in key events in twentieth century Irish history.” Hallissy will have the novel The Likeness, by Tana French, in her beach bag at all times over the summer because it too aligns with her fall class. In these books, by Tana French, we get to follow detective Cassie Maddox, a member of the Dublin police force’s murder squad.
Hallissy will also continue her Hutton Book Group over the summer, focusing on recently published collections of short fiction: What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander, and Astray, Emma Donoghue. The Hutton Book Group is a reading group on campus open to members of the surrounding community.
“Everything I’ve read by these two writers has been excellent.” She continues, “And then I have several novels on my desk not related to school at all, but related to summer travel, including Richard Ford’s Canada and Eva Stachniak’s The Winter Palace. I’ve been to Canada many times, but feel that I don’t know much about it; last summer I went to St. Peters- burg in Russia and saw the actual palace that was home to Catherine the Great.”
For students, Hallissy recommends reading recently published novels since they usually comment on the fact that they only read old classics in class. She says, “I would especially think about reading young writers, new talents that the students can follow for years. For example, The New York Times (4/16/13, C2) published a list, “The 20 Under 40,” of young British writers. American writers close to the students’ own generation with whose works I am familiar would include Colson Whitehead, whose Sag Harbor is a great sum- mer read of local interest, and Karen Russell, whose Swamplandia!, is set in an alligator-themed park in Florida.” She also recommends finding books in Bookmarks Magazine, or on the website www. bookmarksmagazine.com. Hallissy feels strongly that students should read books over the summer, “What else would you do for four whole months? But seriously, the one thing I would not do is to read junk just because it’s warm out. In every genre, whether it’s science fiction, westerns, mystery, horror, whatever, there are important writers worthy of the attention of college students. And their books will fit nicely in a beach bag.”
For Dr. John Lutz, Chair of the English Department, reading over the summer is very different since he has to outline passages and take notes for class. Lutz states, “I’m always reading and have a pile of books waiting to be read. Over the summer, I’ll catch up on some recently published novels, literary criticism and reread some classics.” This summer Lutz is particularly looking forward to read Last Man on Tower, a thrilling murder story that tells the story of a struggle for appealing Mumbai real estate, by Aravida Adiga, Lutz believes that reading is extremely valuable. “It enables us to enter into imaginary worlds that depict human situa- tions that we might not encounter ourselves in a way that allows us to understand ourselves and others better. It prepares us for decisions in life where our hap- piness and well-being may be at stake and provides us with inner resources to cope with life choices of all kinds,” says Lutz. Lutz recommends students at Post to read everything and anything over the summer because it enables you to broaden your interests.
So whether or not you are a bookworm, this is the time to dig into the world of imagination and adventure. There are plenty of different genres to pick from, so make sure to go to your local bookstore and pick out something that you would like.