Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Sneak Peek: Class of 2019 Summer Reading

Part of what makes Babson great is that students can get involved in so many different things. The opportunities are limitless, as I found out in October 2013, when I was asked to be a student representative on the committee that chooses incoming first-years’ summer reading selection. Over the past two years, I’ve joined other students, staff, and faculty to find books that are not only interesting and engaging, but also true to the values that Babson holds most dear. Last year, our committee chose Dave Eggers’ The Circle. Now, as the school year draws to a close, we’re down to our Final Four for the Class of 2019- here’s a quick look at each:

Americanah, a novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, follows the lives of two Nigerian professionals who return to Nigeria after pursuing opportunities in the United States and Great Britain. I’ve read this one twice—once last year and again this spring—and gotten different things out of it each time. It touches on what it’s like to go back home after being away and on greater social issues like race and immigration.

Good Food Revolution by Will Allen details Allen’s entrepreneurial efforts to reinvigorate urban farming in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It explores Allen’s family history and his pathway from working in the private sector to starting his own nonprofit. While I didn’t get a chance to read this one, I’ve watched Allen speak in a couple of interviews, and his ideas about urban farming are pretty neat.

Losing My Cool details the life of Thomas Chatterton Williams, whose 2007 Washington Post op-ed “Yes, Blame Hip-Hop” gained national attention. His memoir brings readers through his childhood in New Jersey and college experiences at Georgetown. By the end of the book, I was left questioning what constitutes a culture and what exactly it means to “fit in” in a given place, among other things.

Soul Pancake by Rainn Wilson (Dwight from “The Office”) isn’t a traditional book. It’s part-journal, part-book, formatted as a series of questions that ask you to look inward and reflect.  I flipped through about twenty of the questions offered up, and some of them definitely made me think quite a bit- my favorite: “What’s one thing you’ve learned that blew your mind?”.

All four of these books bring something special to the table, and the committee has been discussing them and others over the past few months. In the next couple weeks, we’ll be announcing which of these four is the optional summer reading selection for the Class of 2019, so stay tuned!