Story by Frannie Gordon • Photo by Brenna Breech
Beyond the madness of the semester, there’s a peaceful fellowship of dedicated readers in Park Hall. These professors and students are in a constant hustle and bustle from one class to the next, often holding hot travel mugs
of tea or coffee in one hand and notated texts in the other.
Home to the English major as well as classical language majors, Park is a hub for theorizing, analyzing and engaging in
complex ideas. During the semester, these readers and professors are inundated with countless preparations and readings for class.
However, when the semester draws to a close and there is a final sigh of relief as aching hands finish that last in-class essay, what will these students and professors be looking forward to reading by the fireside over winter break?
Nikki Smith, a junior English major, began reading “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand over the summer and will be picking
up the novel again soon. “I read ‘The Fountainhead’ in high school,” she says. “It was too complicated for me at the time.
I’m interested to see how I interpret the political aspects now that I’m in college.” She quietly related her experiences of how she has come to greatly appreciate novels in depth because of her time in Park.
“I can understand things better in novels simply because of how much I’ve read. I started to force myself to read deeper–
I was able to read a bunch of books in Professor Pizzino’s class, and my teachers have inspired me and helped me interpret things in a more academic way.”
Students and teachers alike are happy to settle down into fond series that were laid aside for the past four months or so.
Christopher Pizzino, associate professor of English, thought about what has been on his to-read list.
“As a comics scholar who teaches many kinds of literature, I don’t usually find time to follow my favorite series on a monthly basis,” says Pizzino. “I’m looking forward to catching up on Robert Kirkman’s ‘The Walking Dead.’ It may not be the kind of series everyone wants to curl up with by the fire, but for those with the necessary fortitude, ‘The Walking Dead’ is a memorable read.”
Jake Brannon, a mass media arts major, enjoys reading southern literature phenomenon Pat Conroy. A book he’s been
looking forward to is “Prince of Tides.”
“I read ‘Lords of Discipline,’ and this one is said to be one of his best books. While reading ‘Prince of Tides,’’ I felt like I was betrayed by the main character for the first time,” he says. “I didn’t understand why they did what they did. I want to follow that and trace that character.”
His genre preferences lean towards James Elroy novels about the 1940s and 1950s.
Professor Fran Teague teaches in the film, English and drama departments at UGA, specializing in women’s studies and Shakespeare. She attends Bulldog Book Club, a bi-monthly affair she is fond of and has kept up for several years. The group just read “The Magicians,” which Teague says is “like Harry Potter but with more blood.” Her cheerful, charismatic presence fills the small table in the center of the Jittery Joe’s in the Miller Learning Center. Her laughter and quick wit lend to the presence of the book club, and the conversations are endlessly hilarious.
Teague admires Terry Pratchett. “She does sci-fi fantasy, but I’ll read shampoo bottles. I mean, I will read anything,”
she says. “As readers, we look for words everywhere–on the backs of cereal boxes, anything.” A couple of books she is looking to read and re-read right now include “The Things They Carried”and “Flowers for Algernon.”
Teague’s career is to read, and she reads voraciously. “I mean honestly, how many times have I read ‘Macbeth?’” she says.
Kristen Hobbs is interested in pursuing works by Cormac McCarthy, the author of “The Road” and “No Country for Old
Men,” during her break at home.
“I have such a long list of things that I’m trying to work through,” she says. “Mostly, I read things that have been recommended to me. However, I’ve been trying to read all of McCarthy’s books, and it’s been a very long process.”
This winter, students and professors alike will be putting aside academic materials and hopefully enjoying some much-needed bonding time with the crackling fire in the fireplace and beloved dog-eared pages, as well as dusty favorites finally being taken off the shelf.