Books Reviewed by Students

Posted on April 7th, 2017 by

Reading Workshop Graphic

Eleven students participated in the Spring Reading Workshop (NDL-201), a .25 credit course that met during the first half of the semester. Students read and discussed a book together (this semester it was Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl, which turned out to be a great discussion book!), read and shared their own reviews of a second book of their choice, and reflected on their own reading tastes and the place of reading in contemporary culture.

Here are some of the books students selected to read and excerpts from their reviews:

  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. “An excellent depiction of what it was like to grow up in South Africa during an oppressing political/social regime. Noah gives this depiction through hilarious and very real stories about the life he had while he lived through the apartheid in South Africa.”
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein. Tolkein “creates such fantastic imagery with his descriptions of the landscapes of Middle Earth that it feels like a place you’ve been to before and his detail on the characters allows you to picture them perfectly in your head.  It is an older book so some of the words and style of writing Tolkien uses takes some time to get used to but is definitely worth the read.  He originally created The Hobbit as a story for his kids and it evolved into this fantastic tale that anyone of any age can thoroughly enjoy.  If you are looking for an exciting fantasy adventure The Hobbit is the book for you.”
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.”Steinbeck packs the literature full of symbolism and imagery.  The reader is sure to fall in love with the characters, and close the cover of the novel after the 100-some page journey, full of emotion and the urge to discuss the conclusion, and the entirety, of the novel.”
  • The Power of People: Four Kinds of People Who Can Change Your Life by Verna Cornelia Price. “This book is filled with so much wisdom and ways of understanding connections between the relationships you build throughout your life and it will help you get one step closer to your success.”
  • Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams. As her mother draws closer to death, the author “uses nature as her emotional and physical healing.” The book “reminds me that…without our wild natural environment, we are incomplete. Nature makes me a whole person, it completes me with its magic.”
  • A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein. “The season in its entirety is documented in this book by author John Feinstein, who had complete access to every aspect and everyone on the Indiana basketball team during the 1985-86 season. John shows the good, the bad and the ugly sides of Bob Knight but also is fair by including the great morals and intentions he sees in Bob Knight as a coach. This book is a great read for sports fans and the average person as well. It is interesting and involves many off the court stories as well as what occurred on the basketball court. “
  • The Secret Game: A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball’s Lost Triumph by Scott Ellsworth. “This book was interesting to me because of all of the history intertwined within it. This book is non-fiction, and even contains a few pictures for those who enjoy a picture book every once in a while! As I was reading, I found myself getting deeper and deeper into the lineage of basketball, and finding myself experiencing segregation first hand through [the author’s] words … All in all, if you’re down for some straight up history with an amazing storyline and real life accounts, I would strongly suggest reading this book. “
  • Split by Swati Avasthi. “Overall, I’d say this work is meant for young adults who have lived through tough times at home or in their personal lives, as the experiences are relatable and hopeful when appropriate.”
  • This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Overall the novel was very similar to Fitzgerald’s other books such as The Great Gatsby in the sense that a man who seems very put together is actually more in shambles than anyone else. The book is a great read and I highly recommend.”

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