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Kenyon Book Club: Novels I Want to Read Outside of Class

Even though I’m a Junior, I still approach each new year at Kenyon in two ways: one, by forgetting about all the work I will have to do, and two, by imagining my free time as an infinite, flexible concept. I see myself as having plenty of time to read the classic novels that I’ve been dying to read for ages, because, apparently, I would have more time to read them during the school year than I will over the summer. This is wrong. Seriously, I still romanticize Kenyon as a reader’s carefree haven. Though I’ll be lucky if I can even get through one of these books this year, here is a sampling of my dream reading list:

1. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Source: Amazon.com

I actually have this book on my shelf, but I can’t look at it without thinking of the two papers I have due this week. From what I know, Anna Karenina is an impassioned, deeply complex family epic. I think I can best picture myself reading this in the Bolton Family Theater, where I can scream and yell in response to the text, and everyone would think I was just rehearsing.


2. Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace

Source: Amazon.com


Okay, I know this is a classic Kenyon declaration, but I really do want to tackle the infamously gargantuan Infinite Jest at some point, even if it’s just to say I completed it in my own lifetime. And, just so everyone would know how much of a hipster I actually am, I would probably read this oeuvre in the back of the post office, accompanied by my Wiggin Street iced chai latte.


3. Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes

Source: Wikipedia.org

This one appeals to me so much because of its adventure and absurdity; I would probably read it off-campus, somewhere along the Gap Trail (and mistake silos for people who are trying to attack me…).


4. Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Source: Amazon.com

I’ve been trying to read more Toni Morrison novels ever since I fell in love with Song of Solomon in high school, but I haven’t been able to do so (yet). I would probably read Beloved in a peaceful location outside, preferably before it got too chilly.


5. Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo


Source: Bookhaven.org

The best place to read this revolutionary tale would be, without a doubt, Old Side, in our beloved Peirce Hall. That way, I could hop onto a table at a moment’s notice and try to rally the support of my fellow classmates, or simply belt out, “Do you hear the people sing?


If I had as much time as I thought, I could have extended this list by a couple dozen more books; unfortunately, midterms are almost upon us, and extracurricular obligations await. However, I do like to believe that it’s important to do a little reading for yourself every now and then, even if it is only a couple pages a week. For some ideas, don’t forget to check out the library’s selection of titles for Banned Books Week!

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