Featured Book: “Getting From College To Career” by Lindsay Pollak

ctc

 

There are 90 pieces of advice in the book Getting From College To Career by Lindsay Pollak. However, the author herself says to scan through her book for advice that relates the most to your specific situation- you don’t have to read the entire book, although that might help! Essentially, this book is for helping college students to launch their careers. Whether you’re a traditional or nontraditional student, a minority or majority ethnicity, etc., there is advice here for you.

My personal favorite lines of wisdom from Getting From College To Career are about taking action:

The worst mistake you can make is not to take any action at all . . . Once I started making some phone calls, meeting some people for lunch, and sending out my resume, I built momentum and began to find opportunities. The minute I took action- any action- things started happening.

Pollak encourages college students to get out there and try new things, since you never know what might lead to a job opportunity. During your time in college, you should take advantage of your professors’ knowledge and their connections to potential employers. The university staff and faculty want to help you succeed, so it doesn’t hurt to ask questions! For Union specifically, the Vocatio Center is a great place to go for resume help, on-campus jobs, and future career prep. As Pollak says, “Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, until you’ve visited your school’s career services office.”

For more advice on what you can be doing to prepare for your next job, check out Getting From College To Career. It’s available in the library in the LB section (click this link to see the call number).

 

Book Review: “On Reading Well” by Karen Swallow Prior

on reading well

I took the English class “Literary Criticism” in 2012. This class taught me how people have interpreted literature over the years- whether they’re looking at what the author intended, how the text affects the reader, or how the text stands completely on its own. While diving into Derrida and other writer-philosophers like him could be confusing, I always appreciated learning why we read the way we do and how we figure out just what books are trying to tell us.

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books is about literary criticism, but it’s not just for English majors. The author, Karen Swallow Prior, makes classic books accessible to people who may not have read them before or only have a passing knowledge of them. Prior strives to teach us that it’s not enough to read widely- we have to read well. She examines the virtues present in different stories and how we can learn from them.

What On Reading Well gets right: Prior called me out on reading too quickly. Too often I fly through books because I’m trying to get to the next one on my list, when really I should slow down and engage with the text. On Reading Well reminds us how to read and actually learn from what we’re reading.

Prior does a great job of connecting virtues, such as temperance and prudence, with literary, historical, personal, and pop culture examples. She looks at popular and formative books such as Silence, The Road, and Persuasion. This makes On Reading Well a treasure trove of experience. Plus, Bible verses are frequently referenced to help the reader understand and place the virtues in context. You will definitely be encouraged to think by this book!

What On Reading Well gets wrong: It’s certainly not a crime for a book to contain academic references and notes. However, I think On Reading Well was marketed to appear as more of a fun, albeit educational, book than it truly is.  Prior quotes extensively from other authors and thinkers, especially when she’s defining each virtue, and the little notations by each quote can get distracting if you’re trying to read for pleasure rather than for research.

Who should read On Reading Well: Anyone who appreciates literature and, in particular, taking a moral lens to literature. People who are interested in connecting stories with biblical principles. English students looking for accessible literary research and references.

Who shouldn’t read On Reading Well: Scholars who reject taking a moral lens to literature (On Reading Well mentions other forms of literary criticism but does not espouse them; this book sticks strictly to Sir Philip Sidney’s views). People who would rather read a book with less of an academic tone.

 

You can check out On Reading Well from the library.

Book Review: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card


ender's game

 

*mild spoilers for Ender’s Game are in this review

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was recommended to me by my husband and two of my student assistants. Unfortunately, as this review will reveal, I didn’t like it.

Here’s a brief, spoiler-free summary: Ender’s Game is about a young boy, Ender Wiggins, who is chosen to train at Battle School. His teachers hope that he will be the missing link in the fight between aliens and humans. Orson Scott Card wrote several books after Ender’s Game and has made different series that correspond with the Ender’s Game universe.

What Ender’s Game gets right: The beginning really pulls you in and sets the stage for the rest of the book. We witness a moment in Ender’s life that turns out to be an important test, and Ender remembers this moment throughout his training.

I find Ender easy to sympathize with. He seems like an Enneagram type 9 (“peacemaker”) in a world that is forcing him to act like an 8 (“boss”). (I could also see Ender as a 5- he enjoys games, strategies, and alone time to figure things out.) Ender is constantly trying to end conflict once and for all- he does not enjoy hurting others or commanding them, he simply wants everything to work out for the best of all involved.

What Ender’s Game does wrong: Where are all of the women? There are only three woman characters in the whole book, and only one of them gets a point of view narration.

Another qualm that I have with Ender’s Game is Card’s writing style. He switches between third person, third person omniscient, and first person narratives without much transition at all. It’s like he decided to have every kind of point of view possible in his story- which is fine, if it makes sense within the context (it doesn’t).

Who should read Ender’s Game: People who enjoy reading political commentaries, arguments on Facebook, and/or deterministic plots. Alternately, people who will read it for the science fiction aspects and won’t dig much deeper than that.

Who shouldn’t read Ender’s Game: Parents who are already worried about their children growing up in a scary world and don’t like reading about the abuse and manipulation of children. People who don’t enjoy constant social conflict (me). I can read about crazy, militant societies, but only if it’s clear that it’s a satire and that it’s not a good thing (like 1984 or Brave New World). Ender’s Game doesn’t convince me that the book is actually against the fanatical survival-of-the-fittest messages that are preached. Ender as a character certainly does not condone this kind of society (even though he enables it), but the book’s overall tone and destruction of free will points to total annihilation as the only means of human survival- and that’s not fun to read about.

Ender’s Game is available in the library’s Recreational Reading section.

Book Review: “How To Win At College”

how to win

How to Win at College is a quirky little book that combines humor and practical knowledge through 75 tips on how to succeed in the college setting. Each tip has a short descriptor that is typically 1-3 pages long. All of the tips in the book have been garnered from actual students, and every tip is useful.

Some tips include:

  • Don’t do all of your reading.
  • Make your bed every single day.
  • Never nap.
  • Decorate your room.
  • Make friends your #1 priority.
  • Attend political rallies.
  • “Don’t have no regrets.”

Through these tips and many, many more, this book does a phenomenal job at teaching readers how to not only succeed, but thrive while getting through college.

 

*written by Donny Turner