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Williams Reads opens tonight.

Please join us for the Opening Night of Williams Reads as we gather to hear community members read from Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and other works. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served.

I asked the 7 students in my Winter Study seminar if they were participating. Six of them had no idea what I was talking about. My comments and questions are the same as they have been for the last three years.

1) I like the idea of Williams Reads, of bringing the larger community together in a shared intellectual event, a Mountain Day for the mind. Who came up with the idea? That Eph deserves some praise.

2) I worry that Williams Reads, instead of being just a shared book event, also tries to be centered around diversity issues. It’s as if the College required that Mountain Day feature a reading of “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” There is nothing wrong with knapsacks, invisible or otherwise, but it would be unhelpful to conflate Mountain Day with political issues.

3) There is nothing wrong with having any given Williams Reads use a diversity-related book. The problem is that, as best I can tell, Williams Reads requires the use of such a book. We have had three Williams Reads, featuring three non-white authors writing about three non-white protagonists. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the politics are fairly obvious and, in my opinion, off-putting. Note that, unlike past years, the Williams Reads webpage does not mention (?) that the program is diversity-related. Is that an oversight or an attempt to make the program less political?

4) How popular is Williams Reads? This is what I am most curious about. If hundreds of students read the book, then ignore all my criticisms. The people in charge of Williams Reads obviously know students much better than I do. But, how can it be that hundreds of students read the book when 6 out of 7 of my students (none first years) were completely unaware of the program? (Selection bias, perhaps.) Two years ago, I was skeptical.

Again, I am a fan of the idea behind Williams Reads and hope that the program continues for 50 years. But 500 copies! Color me skeptical. Are there really 500+ students/faculty/staff at Williams willing to take hours of time to read and discuss The Namesake? I doubt it. (The test will come if even half of these diligent readers come to one of the discussion sections during 1/16 to 1/19. I would be shocked to see 250 people show up for these events.)

Diana reported that I was wrong.

People really liked it. I talked to a first-year on my team that had picked it up and had read almost the whole book in the first day of winter study. It was not sitting in unread piles; people were asking their friends to share the book with them after they were done reading it. This was a much better choice than a book about the election.

While the orchestrated discussions may not have been a big success, that’s not necessarily the point. I saw the book on my professor’s desk and we began a conversation about it. This would never have happened otherwise, because the chance that we both had read the book on his desk would be too small.

I am most interested in the empirical facts. How many people will attend the event tonight? How many books will be distributed? How many will be read? How many will attend the various events? Three years ago, the Williams Reads folks thought that there would be enough interest to justify an aggressive schedule of events:

Other community events will follow in the month of January. From Tuesday, January 16 – Friday, January 19, open community book discussions will be held daily at noon and at 4:00 p.m. Locations will be posted here at a later date.

I suspect that these were sparsely attended, if at all. There seem to be only two similar discussions scheduled for this year. I will try to attend one and report back.

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#1 Comment By Ronit On January 6, 2009 @ 9:48 am

We have had three Williams Reads, featuring three non-white authors writing about three non-white protagonists. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the politics are fairly obvious and, in my opinion, off-putting.

Oh dear God.

#2 Comment By Dick Swart On January 6, 2009 @ 9:59 am

Things fall apart!

#3 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 10:07 am

Oh Dave.

Not all of us are on the white diet. Next thing we know you’ll be dismayed with the hot chocolate.

#4 Comment By JeffZ On January 6, 2009 @ 10:30 am

DK on campus for a full month? This should be interesting.

#5 Comment By current eph On January 6, 2009 @ 10:31 am

David,

Read The Absolutely True Diary. You won’t be disappointed. While the book will broaden most Ephs’ horizons who read it, increase their awareness of important issues, etc, etc, etc, I don’t believe that “diversity” is its greatest value. The book is a really wonderful work of literature. That the book is likely to provoke discussion as well is an added bonus.

Also, my bet is that there is some selection bias working in the students that you asked about the book. Now that said, even if there isn’t, 1/7 students on campus during winter study is somewhere between 200 and 300 students. Now, obviously every student who has heard of Williams Reads won’t be reading the book, but also it’s very likely that many students who haven’t heard of Williams Reads as of yesterday (or whenever you asked your students) will end up reading the book, as their friends/teachers read and talk about it.

#6 Comment By rory On January 6, 2009 @ 10:32 am

when bait posts go wrong…

#7 Comment By Ronit On January 6, 2009 @ 10:38 am

I remember when this kind of thing would have led to a 2000-word rebuttal from rory. Ah, the good old days.

#8 Comment By Ben Fleming On January 6, 2009 @ 11:13 am

There is nothing wrong with having any given Williams Reads use a diversity-related book. The problem is that, as best I can tell, Williams Reads requires the use of such a book. We have had three Williams Reads, featuring three non-white authors writing about three non-white protagonists. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the politics are fairly obvious and, in my opinion, off-putting.

Yeah, but this is pretty ridiculous. You’ve got to be staring pretty hard so see three (3!) non-white authors in a row as “fairly obvious” evidence of anything. Maybe it’s one of those Magic Eye things that I could never get.

#9 Comment By JG On January 6, 2009 @ 11:47 am

I’m taking the bait (can’t resist) but will keep it short. Why is a book by a non-white author a “diversity book,” but a book by a white author is just a book? David, do you think that non-white authors are not capable of writing general works of sufficient quality to just be a great book? My understanding is that the three authors come from dramatically different backgrounds, thereby representing different experiences and perspectives. I’d also point out (oops, not really a short comment now) that if anyone complained about three white authors in a row, you would have called us diversity-addled, political correctness junkies and told us to appreciate good books. Just saying.

BTW, what in the hell is a “diversity book”? If it means reading any book by a person different from yourself, any time you read a non-U.S. 20th century male author you are reading a “diversity book.”

#10 Comment By hwc On January 6, 2009 @ 11:58 am

And right on cue, Ephblog stifles discussion of a potentially interesting topic. I, for one, was mildly curious to learn more about campus interest in these events. Instead, we get the usual harangue about whether or not David meets the standards of political correction and… voila! … end of discussion.

#11 Comment By Dick Swart On January 6, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

If a book isn’t ‘diverse’ from your experience or additive to your experience, what’s the point?

Dave might be less judgmental just re-reading his diary.

#12 Comment By rory On January 6, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

lol…jg’s response is stifling but david’s first post from being on campus is an attack on a program at williams is not? the usual harangue…would you like us to diversify our style a little more for you, hwc? absolutely priceless.

jg–stop taking the bait.

#13 Comment By Ronit On January 6, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

Seriously, it’s like they’re not even trying any more. David/hwc – next time, be a little more subtle.

#14 Comment By David On January 6, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

JG writes:

I’m taking the bait (can’t resist) but will keep it short.

Why short? Winter Study is made for discussions like these. ;-)

Why is a book by a non-white author a “diversity book,” but a book by a white author is just a book?

It isn’t. I am making two separate points. First, each of the three books is “diversity-related.” Surely that must be the case. After all, Williams Reads seems to be run under the supervision of the “Committee on Diversity and Community” and, at least in past years, has explicitly stated that the goal is “exploring diversity and community through a common reading experience.” So, I assume that the organizers are fulfilling their mandate and picking “diversity-related” books. Second, we have the race of the authors and the protagonists. I predict (and am happy to bet) that next year’s book will also feature a non-white author and non-white protagonist. Would you like to take the other side of that bet? What odds would you offer?

Now, obviously, Williams Reads could feature a book by a white author and/or about a white protagonist. Last year, they sought and published some of the suggestions they received. Many books were like that, while still meeting a reasonable diversity-related screen, including one related to, I think, mental health. But, there is a certain segment of the CDC that sees “diversity” as indistinguishable from non-white, and so my prediction stands.

I’d also point out (oops, not really a short comment now) that if anyone complained about three white authors in a row, you would have called us diversity-addled, political correctness junkies and told us to appreciate good books.

To be clear, I am not “complaining” about the race of the authors or the protagonists of these books. I don’t really care one way or the other, although I do enjoy pointing out the obvious (to me) predilections of the folks who run Williams Reads.

The main time that I have called people out for complaining about too many whites doing X at Williams was in the context of Commencement Speakers and, in that case, my point was that folks were just empirically wrong about the racial distribution of speakers.

BTW, what in the hell is a “diversity book”?

Ask the organizers of Williams Reads. They pick the books.

#15 Comment By rory On January 6, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

DON’T TAKE THE BAIT!

#16 Comment By David On January 6, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

I keep pondering JG’s question: “[W]hat in the hell is a “diversity book”?” Let me give two answers.

First, if by “diversity book” you mean a book that actually provides a unique perspective, one very different from your own, one that forces you to live outside yourself, to see the world from another’s shoes, then most of the world’s great literature meets the test. The Iliad and Odyssey would be fine choices, but the classics of India and China would do fine as well. Can anyone imagine Williams Reads using the Illiad next year? I can’t.

Second, if by “diversity book” you mean something that the people who run Williams Reads might actually select next January, then I think the list is much smaller, that in addition to meeting the test above with regard to having a unique perspective and forcing the reader to live outside herself, it would also need to meet specific PC-derived notions of what constitutes “diversity” in the Williamstown of the 21st century. That notion of diversity is largely tied to skin color, for better or worse.

#17 Comment By JeffZ On January 6, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

HWC is just depressed because if Cappy Hill does in fact become President he’ll no longer be able to appear “enlightened” via bitching and moaning about Williams’ purported sexism.

#18 Comment By Parent ’12 On January 6, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

Before I decide whether to “bite” I’d like a little clarification:

Why does Williams Reads exist? (Sorry if I missed something in scanning David’s entry.) Or, since it seems to be relatively new, what do those who have been on campus for WSP think of the idea of a community book?

And, the books so far have been The Namesake, Achebe’s book (Dick @2), & Sherman Alexie’s most recent book?

#19 Comment By Ben Fleming On January 6, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

To be clear, I am not “complaining” about the race of the authors or the protagonists of these books. I don’t really care one way or the other, although I do enjoy pointing out the obvious (to me) predilections of the folks who run Williams Reads.

c.f.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the politics are fairly obvious and, in my opinion, off-putting.

Assuming off-putting means what it does to everyone else (“I am put off by X”), then it sure sounds like a complaint to me.

#20 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

Dave,

Having trouble putting this into words, but let me give it a shot:

Don’t you think it’s ironic, (not to mention, um…a bit egoistic and nosistic) that a white guy, (who by virtue of his whiteness represents the first real diversity in this country), is arguing the merits of a group read of a book about native americans, listing it’s “diversity” as your primary objection?

#21 Comment By frank uible On January 6, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

To paraphrase Duke Ellington: there are two kinds of books.

#22 Comment By JG On January 6, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

Rory @12 – per our discussion Sunday, I blame you for inspiring me to check out EB!

David @14 – some of us don’t have the luxury of taking an entire month to go play in Williamstown.

#23 Comment By Ronit On January 6, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

Why does Williams Reads exist?

Um… as a phil major, I’m not great with existential questions (why does anything exist, when you get right down to it? who knows?), I’d have to assume it exists because some people find it enjoyable/valuable. I know that when I was on campus, a lot of people enjoyed reading and discussing their free copies of the Namesake. Consider it a Pareto-optimal utility-enhancing exercise (phew, once again, my economics major half comes to the rescue of my philosophy major half by providing a plausible, if uninformative, answer). Both parts of me, however, can agree that it’s probably unnecessary to concern oneself with conspiracy theories and hidden agendas behind every activity.

#24 Comment By David On January 6, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

Parent ’12: I think that Williams Reads is a direct outgrowth of the College’s Diversity Initiatives, which were a direct result of Nigaleian. I am not the best judge of what those on campus think of the event. The previous books were The Namesake and Parable of the Sower.

Ben: I find the fact that Williams Reads is diversity-related off-putting. I wish it were non-political, like Mountain Day. I don’t care about the race of the authors or the protagonists.

sophmom: You classify me as a “white guy.” On what evidence? I do not think that I have told you much about my family background.

#25 Comment By Sulgi Lim On January 6, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

Hello, my name is Sulgi Lim and I’m coordinating this year’s Williams Reads kick-off event tonight. Wanted to share Williams Reads’ mission statement here since there seems to be some confusion (and suspicion) about the objectives of this program…

Williams Reads Mission Statement
Williams Reads aims to foster new connections among students, staff, faculty, and community members by exploring diversity through a common reading experience. Developed by the Committee on Diversity and Community (CDC), Williams Reads is an initiative offered each January as an opportunity for us to explore a book together that will help us to celebrate and deepen our appreciation of diversity. It is a goal of the CDC to select a book that will stimulate community engagement and challenging conversation. In addition, related discussions, movies, performances, and presentations will be offered. Free copies of the chosen book are made available during the first week of Winter Study, with the intent that these copies will recirculate throughout the community.

Sponsored by: Committee on Diversity and Community, Office of the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity, Water St. Books, and Williams College Libraries

#26 Comment By Dick Swart On January 6, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

Parent ’12 –

I don’t know whether the first book of African literature in English has ever been a part of the program. I only used Achebe’s title as an appropriate bon mot for Dave’s reactions – Things Fall Apart!

Experiencing diversity close up without a book offers many insights. On occasion, I work with Mexican Hispanics and American Indians from the Yakima Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. There is much to be learned.

#27 Comment By David On January 6, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

Thanks to Sulgi Lim for providing this mission statement. The main webpage for Williams Reads seems to be here.

Question for Sulgi (or anyone else): Can you tell us what books have been suggested for Williams Reads either this year or in the past? Suggestions were solicited last year and even blogged about by someone in charge (although I lost the link). There were a bunch of interesting suggestions.

#28 Comment By Another ’05 Eph On January 6, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

Sophmom @20: Touche. Point to you.

David: It seems to be the Committee on Diversity and Community. Are you opposed to the community aspect of it? Or just the diversity? Are the events happening in a “bad” part of Williamstown? ;o) The really excellent thing about diversity is how diverse it is…you could read the book, show up to all of the events, and discuss your perspective. Since you’ve already scratched the falling love off your WSP to-do list, this could be an enjoyable activity.

#29 Comment By Parent ’12 On January 6, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

Thanks for answers to my questions. And, to Sulgi Lim is there any way that Sherman Alexie could come to speak later this year?

“Williams Reads” reminds me of the annual summer book that my son’s school had the high school read. It was selected by a committee of faculty & students and would be discussed in the fall, either in the context of an English class, a history class, or part of a symposium. The context was to provide the opportunity for discussion. There were no demands beyond that. No one was “forced” to read the book because of a writing assignment. One year they read A Long Way Home by Ishmaeh Beah, who then came to speak. Another year it was In Cold Blood. The books were all topical in that they stimulated discussion.

As for Williams Reads this year, I’m glad to hear that Sherman Alexie is getting more exposure. I would not be familiar with his writing if not for another high school class that my son had 2-3 years ago. As I recall, the title was something like The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Alexie is an excellent example of a good writer, who deserves a wider audience, even a popular audience. He writes lively prose about a less seen, non-mainstream world.

#30 Comment By JeffZ On January 6, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

DK writes, “sophmom: You classify me as a “white guy.” On what evidence? I do not think that I have told you much about my family background.”

I will handle this the same way Tiny Fey handled Sarah Palin — just stick to the source material.

#31 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

@24

Okay, Dave, take away the part about my calling you white.

My point is that to object to the merits of a book because of it’s non-white author, or it’s subject matter, is absurd. But it seems even more ridiculous, considering that this particular book is about native americans, by whom almost all the rest of us could have one time been labeled as “diversity”.

#32 Comment By rory On January 6, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

sophmom–no need. we’ve all seen pictures of him (thanks dick swart!). he’s clearly male and he’s clearly white (sorry, david, if that irritates you). that he’s calling you out on that claim says more about him and his feelings re: whiteness, imo, than about you and your claim.

david, what is it about a discussion of diversity using a book that is off-putting? you can’t even feel comfortable reading a fictional book that might touch on themes of diversity without feeling threatened or attacked or something?

what possible way to discuss diversity is there that won’t feel the wrath of kane? i’m not sure i want to know…but i do want the photoshop version of it.

#33 Comment By David On January 6, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

Rory insists that I am “clearly white.” Good to know! Is Carmen Whalen “clearly white?” How about Joe Cruz? Or Cesar Siva? The College is happy to classify them (reasonably enough) as something other than “white.” Rory should know that physical appearance, especially via pictures, provides, at best, an imperfect guide to the classifications used at a place like Williams. You can also be sure that at least half of the 11 (!) Native American students at Williams have skin at least as pale as mine. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Rory asks “what is it about a discussion of diversity using a book that is off-putting?” The same thing that I would find off-putting about combining Mountain Day with a discussion of diversity. My point, now repeated ad nauseum, is that I think that Williams Reads is a great idea and should be instituted, like Mountain Day, as an event independent of diversity or any other such concern. Make it non-denominational. Choose books of all sorts.

As always, I enjoy discussions of diversity. (How many people can honestly claim to have read the entire Diversity Initiatives report?) I like Parable of the Sower last year and I hope to like this year’s book.

Rory confusedly asks:


what possible way to discuss diversity is there that won’t feel the wrath of kane?

No one writes more about diversity at Williams than I do. I think that this is a fascinating topic. You mistake my disagreement with you about policy for a fight about the importance of diversity broadly understood.

For example, I think that Cal Tech is marvelously diverse. Do you disagree? Better check the racial make-up of their student body first!

Sophmom writes:

My point is that to object to the merits of a book because of it’s non-white author, or it’s subject matter, is absurd.

I said nothing about the “merits” of the book. Read the post I wrote. I haven’t even read the book! I was mocking the PC notion, common at a place like Williams, that only certain kinds of books can really be about diversity.

#34 Comment By hwc On January 6, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

How many people can honestly claim to have read the entire Diversity Initiatives report?)

I have. And, looked at every graph and table attachment to the document. The tables have the most information about Williams College students ever assembled. Terrific stuff.

#35 Comment By Ronit On January 6, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

Is “I blog about diversity a lot” the new, “Web 2.0” version of “some of my best friends are black”?

#36 Comment By frank uible On January 6, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

Read the goddam book, or don’t read the goddam book, but stop niff knawing over it!

#37 Comment By rory On January 6, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

oh david david david. not only are all three of those individuals “white” (as hispanic is an ethnicity and not a race), but the college classifies them properly as white hispanics (unless one of them is mixed). we’re treading dangerously close to you trying to teach me about race and racial classifications. Suffice to say, that pisses me off almost as much as your faculty salary conjectures piss off dcat. let’s drop it.

arrgh…can’t stop myself…are you claiming native american status? probably not…the large majority (I mean OVERWHELMING) majority of people who hide their racial backgrounds like you have in this conversation are white. are you ashamed of it? what point are you trying to make? nevermind…i don’t want to know.

as to my question…there’s something amazingly condescending and problematic to say “oh, i like this idea. let’s make it about something else!” I like caroling–let’s make it non-demoninational! it’s just a form of singing during the winter! I also like rap, but enough with the talking about the inner city life, let’s talk about farming! a classic case of appropriation. and (honestly) a very white way to think of things.

your cal tech comment is beyond tangential. i’m not taking that bait.

You mistake my question for one that assumed there was no way to talk about it that you would support (wrong!). Instead, you only like one way of talking about diversity (political argumentation and conflict) at williams that we’ve seen/read and not any others (btw, i’m still waiting for ANY evidence that there are books about diversity that would lead to community building and not political argument that this nebulous “PC notion” would not like. Well, no, i’m not waiting for it. I don’t want to bother with that crap). prove me wrong, david, prove me wrong.

Ronit–apparently the long response is still there…it just takes a bit more bait than it used to.

#38 Comment By Ronit On January 6, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

David, you have so far expended nearly 1,800 words (I counted) talking about the idea of reading this book. We hereby assign you to write a book review on this book that is at least equivalent in length. We’ll be expecting you to post it by the end of winter study, or else we’ll have to regretfully give you a grade of EPIC FAIL.

#39 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

My point is that to object to the merits choice of a book because of it’s non-white author, or it’s subject matter, is absurd.

#40 Comment By Parent ’12 On January 6, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

Ronit (@38), I find your book assignment very funny, perhaps only because of my tangential association:

It sounds like “David Reads,” which in turn reminds me of the Yiddish parody of “Dick and Jane.”

#41 Comment By David On January 6, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

Sophmom: Untrue! Imagine that Williams Reads had chosen Bayesian Data Analysis as the book this January. A great book! But I would still object to this selection because its “subject matter” is unlikely to be of interest to a broad enough selection of the Williams community. Hundreds of people must be interested in whatever book is chosen. Will hundreds be interested in True Diary? I don’t know.

Again, if hundreds of Ephs read these books, then the program is a success, even if not that many people attend the events. I do not predict that this will fail because a) I think that they choose interesting books and b) I don’t have a good enough sense of the campus climate on these topics. Time will tell. This is unlike Claiming Williams or neighborhood identity, two efforts that, whatever the good intentions of their founders, are doomed to failure.

#42 Comment By JG On January 6, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

I have spent far too much time on this topic, and I’m jumping at far too much bait, but in for a penny, in for a pound….

So far as I can tell, these are all that could resonate with just about anyone, particularly a college student. On that basis, they at least have the possibility of appealing to a wide swath of the Williams community. With 2000 kids, you’re unlikely to find anything that everyone likes (it might actually be impossible), but within the broad grouping of fiction or some sort of “human interest” (as opposed to stats or car magazines or a self-help guide) these seem to actually hit a lot of different interests. I think trying to go the SciFi angle last year was actually quite brilliant to possibly draw in other students. These books all seem to hit on forging one’s identity within/as a part of some kind of whole, which, to me, is much of the social work of college.

The first Williams Reads in 2007 was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri about a Bengali family emigrating to New Englad, forging one’s identity in a new place, etc. Gosh, nothing people could relate to in their own family histories or the history of this country, or in coming to college in that. This clearly must be a “diversity” book that is only about indoctrinating everyone into being PC.

The second year was Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, a post-apocalyptic type science fiction book set in the U.S. whose protaganist was an 18 year-old dealing with morality and community. Shocking choice that also couldn’t possibly relate to the experience Williams students had/were having coming to a new place and establishing their values and priorities as adults.

This year’s novel by Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is about a nerdy kid who transfers from the reservation school to the rich white school and how he finds his place within that community. Again, huuuge leap to think that would strike a chord with anyone at Williams.

Stimulating discussion about various topics doesn’t require anyone to agree with or even like the books, althoug obviously they have to have enough interest to at least start reading. Some of the best discussions I’ve had about literature have come from books I initially didn’t much like or books I was defending to others or books I didn’t end up finishing. But they’re still fun to talk about with suitemates or professors or at the lunch table or while huddled inside on a snowy Williamstown afternoon. In theory, students pick Williams for the promise of exactly this kind of nerdy intellectual/social exercise.

#43 Comment By PTC On January 6, 2009 @ 6:23 pm

Williams reads Ephblog… hell why not.

I bet more students are reading Ephblog than attending Williams reads… god bless america!

#44 Comment By Another ’05 Eph On January 6, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

JG, it’s so good to have you back commenting here.

#45 Comment By sophmom On January 6, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

A ’05 @44

Amen to that!

#46 Comment By Ben Fleming On January 6, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

To be fair to Bayes, The Namesake is just atrocious.

#47 Comment By Sulgi Lim ’06 On January 7, 2009 @ 10:27 am

We had a great turn-out at the Williams Reads Opening Night yesterday. 250 books were given out, and it seems everyone had a great time. Will share pictures once I receive them from our photographer.

For those of you interested in the program for the evening,

I spoke briefly about the mission of Williams Reads

Professor Wendy Raymond shared about Sherman Alexie, the author of _The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Oriana McGee ’12, Brian Thomas ’12, and Mo Lotif ’11 from SpeakFree, the college’s spoken word group, performed some of Alexie’s poetry

Giselle Jimenez ’11, Jeannette Rivera ’12, and Dean Dave Johnson ’71 read excerpts from _The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian_

and we showed the trailer for _The Business of Fancydancing_ one of Alexie’s films that we will be showing later in the month.

Poetry:

“Break Out the Shovel”
http://www.bpj.org/PDF/V42N2.pdf#zoom=100&page=29

“Crazy Horse Speaks”
http://picard.montclair.edu/~lorenzj/unisinos/alexie-crazyhorse,powwow.pdf

“Shoes”
http://www.bpj.org/PDF/V42N2.pdf#zoom=100&page=27

Trailer: The Business of Fancydancing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmnog4aZQnY

#48 Comment By mlincoln On January 7, 2009 @ 10:30 am

In the interest of supplying some info about about, you know, what’s actually happening on the campus: went to the opening event last night, and people filled the Great Hall in Paresky and completely cleared out the first table full of books that had been put out.

#49 Comment By Ronit On January 7, 2009 @ 10:31 am

Sulgi: thanks, and pictures would be great (I’d like to feature a follow-up post on this on the main page for David’s benefit).

#50 Comment By mlincoln On January 7, 2009 @ 10:31 am

heh, appears Sulgi beat me to the punch

#51 Comment By frank uible On January 7, 2009 @ 10:37 am

Sulgi: The mission of Williams Reads is what?

#52 Comment By Ronit On January 7, 2009 @ 11:02 am

#53 Comment By NSD On January 15, 2009 @ 12:34 am

Sulgi–

I couldn’t find your email address anywhere. Please contact me ASAP. I’m an ’07 currently teaching on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I would love to talk with you about Williams Reads (maybe even about coordinating something with people out here on the rez). I know we’re running a little late, but it’s not too late to get something interesting rolling!

#54 Comment By NSD On January 15, 2009 @ 12:35 am

Sorry…please email me at
zero seven n s [at] williams dot edu

…you know how it works :)

#55 Comment By Sulgi Lim ’06 On January 15, 2009 @ 9:49 am

NSD, I tried emailing you at the email address you provided but it bounced right back. Email me at sulgi.lim@williams.edu and I’ll reply to that email. -Sulgi