Wednesday, July 08, 2009

College Novels

My day job is in higher education/student affairs, so of course I'm drawn to novels that reflect life in academia. Dear God in heaven, there is enough material to draw on for dramatic stories. These novels tend to be satirical, biting, and quite humorous in looking at campus dramatic situations.

Anyway, one that I've read that I absolutely can recommend is Moo by Jane Smiley. Set in a large, state university in the Midwest, Moo has a large, sweeping cast that is interconnected in many obvious and soon-to-be-revealed ways. It was required reading for the 1st year of my grad program in higher ed... and I'm so glad it was. I've returned to the novel again and again.

Two new novels that have come to my attention, and will be added to my to-be-read list.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz, focuses on an admissions officer who works at Princeton, and whose decisions to admit or decline can make or break students lives. I can imagine a tough skin is needed for admissions folks at selective and elite universities.

It Will Come To Me by Emily Fox Gordon, focuses on a Texas university, and a couple where the wife has put her dreams on hold to follow her husband wherever his next academic career move takes him. Washington Post review.

Others I've heard of, but haven't picked up include I Am Charlotte Simmons and On Beauty.

Know of any other college novels? Any that deal with primarily students/staff/faculty of color? I'm always looking for new reading material for myself, colleagues, or students.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"If 6 Were 9" by Jake Lamar, and "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith -- those are the only ones I can think of...