Friday, December 26, 2014

A Year-end Present to Yourself

Run, don't walk, to the nearest library, bookstore, computer or e-reader and get a copy of Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher.  Then set aside an afternoon or evening (it's a small book) for a joyride.  But be sure it is in a place where you will not be embarrassed to laugh out loud (really out loud, not just a smile) again...and again...and again on almost every page.

The structure of this novel is a series of LORs (letters of recommendation) written by a college English professor for his students, his faculty colleagues and a few fellow students from his graduate school days.  These are unlike any recommendation letters that you might imagine.  It makes me wonder what those letters are really like.

Julie Schumacher herself is a faculty member in the Department of English at the University of Minnesota and admits to writing "more letters of recommendation that she cares to recall."  Included in the letters are large doses of college politics, driven by the increasing tensions between the arts and sciences resulting from the pervasive budget constraints affecting most colleges these days.  But it is her arguments supporting the study of English and writing that will stay with you long after the laughter ends.

And if you are familiar with Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener then so much the better (but not necessary.)

I am desperate to talk with someone who has read this book.  If that is you, please leave a Comment below.

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