Assigned books worth reading

By Jessica Marrella
April 21, 2005

Bookstore receipts are proof that students are spending a lot of time reading for their classes. Of all the books a student reads, which ones were page turners that take the cake as being a book worth reading?

One book that makes this list is “The DaVinci Code,” by Dan Brown. Dr. Margaret McGuinness, a religion professor, assigns her religion 105 class to read this book. “The book teaches, but it’s also fun to read,” Jess Watson, a sophomore religion major, said.

Other books that McGuinness feels are worthwhile are “Dead Man Walking,” by Helen Prejean, and “Growing Up Empty: The Hunger Epidemic in America,” by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel. “I try to choose books that are relevant to the class and reflect the latest in scholarship,” McGuinness said. McGuinness takes student opinions into consideration, and if she gets negative feedback regarding a book, she most likely won’t assign that book again.

Rob Debasto, a freshman math major, enjoyed reading “A Child Called It,” by Dave Pelzer, for his seminar 100 “coming of age” class, taught by Jenny Yoos, an English and communication professor. The book is a true story about a boy who is abused by his mother and grows up to help other children who are abused. “The book actually makes you think about that stuff because things like that happen in real life,” Debasto said.

Yoos chose to assign the book because it gave students the chance to see into the “insightful mind” of someone who had suffered from abuse. “This is the story of a boy who lives so that he is not defeated and I think it is something that the students really can identify with, even when it is something small they may be facing,” Yoos said.

Books assigned by Hal Halbert, an English and communication professor, also make the list of must-read books. One book is “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave,” which is a story of American perseverance and triumph. Students actually complained to Halbert that the book was too short.

Another book Halbert assigns is “Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas,” by Hunter S. Thompson. This book tends to get students’ attention because of its style and the way in which narcotics are presented. “It’s about as close to a trip as one can take without actually taking drugs,” Halbert said.

Lastly, “In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote, is also one of Halbert’s successful books. The book is arguably the greatest piece of crime fiction ever written. The book takes you into the lives of both the killers and victims without taking sides. This hits home the idea that terrible crimes can happen anywhere and to anyone.

Of all the books that students invest in, these are just some of the books that take the cake as great reads.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Jessica Marrella

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