I just really like that word. And that place. It’s a fun little hipster bubble of intellect and imagination. Anyhow, the staff suggestions, the memoirs, the pages and pages of topics smashed together in new and inventive ways. I think the most common theme I saw was a “dry” or intellectual topic embedded in a series of somewhat narcissistic anecdotes on the part of the authors. That comes off as a criticism; it’s not necessarily- I saw An Unquiet Mind (read it this summer for my book club, loved it) on the shelf and immediately understood why it was there. It was a really effective memoir about the author’s experience with bipolar disorder that was also incredibly informative. The book, Bonk stood out to me as something that seemed to effectively get at what we’re looking to do with this project- its tagline proclaimed it as a nonfiction tale of science and sex. It seemed to marry a clinical subject with a provocative topic in a way that at least drew a reader to the back cover. Patton Oswalt’s new book, Silver Screen Fiend called to the cinephile in me, and I expected it to be a cut and dry discussion of modern films; but the staff pick description made it sound funny and accessible and rooted in Mr. Oswalt’s own stories. That seems to be the big running theme- something universal with something niche. It could be an effective tool for these projects, especially if we’re really interested in exploring something kind of niche or content-specific. It would be very hard to do it well though I think. It would be very easy for that sort of thing to go badly and to root the entire success of the project in the gimmick of smashing two concepts together. The reason it seemed that these were all effective at this technique is that they were really aware of the reader. All the staff pick descriptions applauded how much the staff connected with these books, how relevant these books seemed to their lives. I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind as well. I couldn’t help but notice that all the books that I saw in the sections I looked at were primarily first person and somewhat autobiographical. This seems like another literary tool to connect more to a reader. I am interested to see how we can translate some of this to our capstone projects.

Sonalee Joshi

Sonalee is a fourth year student in the College of LSA with an Honors major in Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience with a Sweetland Minor in Writing.

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