Faculty & Staff Reading Ideas: Robson Edition

By Brenda Robson

  • Jane Austen, Persuasion. I was inspired to read this because Professor Benson posted an interesting article about Jane Austen. I persuaded my book club to read it as it is said to be her most “moving and mature” works. 
  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women. The fictional family reads Pilgrim’s Progress together at the beginning of the story. I love that because I have fond memories of reading that book with my own children. The story begins with four teenagers feeling sorry for themselves. Before the war, everyone was happy and prosperous but now they had to work long hours at jobs they did not like earning only a dollar for Christmas presents. Their outlook changes when they receive a letter from their father, away at war, reminding them of a time when they were young and acted out scenes from Pilgrim’s Progress. They would strap on “burdens” of heavy cloth to carry on a make-believe journey against many different trials, making themselves stronger for whatever hardships were ahead. I thought about how society today has been fortunate and hasn’t seen major trials, like a war on our soil (or a plague)! But our forefathers did. A great reminder to look at these hard times as opportunities to become spiritually stronger and more empathetic.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. Krystal, an 11th grader that I host, will be reading this masterpiece of Russian literature in an elective taught by Professors Benson and Howell, so I’d like to discuss it with her. Also, my late uncle was a published novelist, and Dostoevsky was his favorite writer. I am looking forward to it.
  • Lucinda Hawksley, Essential Pre-Raphaelites. I am reading this book again about my favorite art movement. “In 1848 a group of seven disillusioned artists formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This book examines the work of the movement, its loosely affiliated personalities, diverse subject matter, and profound effect on nineteenth-and twentieth-century art”. I was able to see many of these works last summer when I visited England. Three Gallery Visits in London. Nothing compares to seeing them in person!