Eric Robb’s Best Reads of 2016

eric-robbMy name is Eric Robb.  I am a resident of Evanston and work as an associate teacher at Baker Demonstration School.  Outside of my teaching duties, I volunteer for the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club – an organization that supports triathletes with disabilities.  My duties include fundraising as well as guiding and supporting athletes with a diverse array of disabilities toward their athletic goals.  I spend what free time I have left playing either guitar, bass guitar, or piano.

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1)  A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)

This is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, so much so that this was actually my second time reading through it.  Toole’s main character, Ignatius Reilly, who considers himself a great misunderstood genius of his time, provides a perfect mixture of highbrow humor and slapstick comedy.

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Prism gives Big Brother a bump

1984-Big-BrotherWell, well, well. What with all the discomfitting news about government spying through its program code-named Prism, it seems that Americans do seek food for thought in classic literature. Booksellers across the nation have reported surges in sales of George Orwell’s chilling (and predictive?) novel 1984 according to this June 11th Bloomberg News article. It’s no. 2 right now on Amazon’s Movers & Shakers list. Barnes & Noble has also seen a significant spike in sales. Most of the library’s copies are checked out. My theory? We are seeking more than food for thought from this dystopic novel. We are searching for assurance that the current situation is a merely disconcerting and not likely to reach the horrific conditions of a government Big Brother that the novel portrays so well.

Barbara L.

George Orwell’s Diaries Published

This article in the NY Times discusses the         recent publication of Orwell’s diaries, which are not totally as profound as one may have expected. The writing takes place over two decades and reflects Orwell’s activities, such as gardening (although he was a serious gardener). There is also much writing on the topics he cared deeply about: language, poverty, politics, and class. He hardly speaks of his wife or son, but the reviewer claims a sense of the man emerges. Perhaps prior to a big election is a good time to think about Orwell’s contributions to political thought. EPL holdings of George Orwell‘s work.

Shira S.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Waiting for the King

Writer Dave Eggers talks about his new novel A Hologram for the King with the NY Times.  Along with discussing his differing approaches to fiction and nonfiction, the Zeitoun author explores how Waiting for Godot, Willy Loman, and a visit to Saudi Arabia subtly influenced the book.

Superheroes for the Silver Screen

The Onion presents 21 comic book super teams perfect for the movies. Inspired by The Avengers’ blockbuster and this weekend’s Comic-Con, they lobby for bringing Alpha Flight, Doom Patrol, the Champions, the Thunderbolts, Seven Soldiers, and the Zoo Crew to Hollywood.

The Importance of Being Orwell

George Orwell’s diaries are dissected by the late Christopher Hitchens in this fascinating Vanity Fair feature.  Due out next month, the 1984 author’s personal writings shed light on how his years in Morocco and Spain in the 1930’s and ’40’s greatly influenced his political convictions.

Thank You for Being a Friend

Learn the art of bromance with this look at 11 great literary friendships.  Through inspiring highs and jealous lows, peek inside the complex relationships between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.