‘Williams Reads’ book selection was a flop

Williams students read, obviously. And when Williams Reads as a community, one expects insights from the ensuing conversation. But there are two types of conversation going on here. One is between members of the Williams community; the other is between those same book-readers and their books. For the former to be successful, the latter would have to go well. And in facilitating a relationship between the page and the person, Williams Reads turned out to be kind of like a bad blind date. Not a horrendous one, mind you – not your great-aunt’s set-up with your second cousin – just an awkward, puzzling one. The kind of date where you close the door at the end of the night and think, “Really? My best friend thinks that’s my type?” It sort of makes you have doubts about who your best friend thinks you are. Apparently, Williams thinks I’m 12.

And really, it’s not like 12-year-olds don’t have a lot going for them. I should be clear: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian isn’t a bad guy. He’s kind of sweet. He’s funny. He’s a blossoming artist, though I’ve got to say, his cartoons drove me to distraction sometimes. And he’s growing up. But he’s not grown-up yet, no matter what the New York Times and Newsday say. He’s a little bit immature, a little too young for 18- and 19- and 22-year-olds.

There’s the problem – I was hoping to read a book that would challenge and provoke, not simply fulfill a rubric that designates it “D” for diversity. Next time, I’m hoping Williams thinks enough of me to set me up with a book with a little more heft, a little more subtlety and depth, something that makes me think. Then when my friends ask how my date went, I’ll be able to say, “You should really meet this guy -”

Michaela Morton ’12

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