Over the summer, each First-Year Seminar student is asked to read a text chosen by the FYS faculty the previous spring. While the books vary greatly in theme, genre, and style from year to year, they all aim to engage students with literature that challenges their worldviews and introduces them to college level reading and ideas.

The summer reading for 2011 is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.


This is a 23 minute long interview with Abdul and Kathy Zeitoun on the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS.

Spike Lee's documentary about Hurricane Katrina, "When the Levees Broke" (4 DVDs), is on reserve for HUM 100 at the library.


Imagine Charles Dickens, his sentimentality in check but his journalistic eyes wide open, roaming New Orleans after it was buried by Hurricane Katrina . . . Eggers' tone is pitch-perfect -- suspense blended with just enough information to stoke reader outrage and what it likely to be a typical response: How could this happen in America? . . . It's the stuff of great narrative nonfiction . . . Fifty years from now, when people want to know what happened to this once-great city during a shameful episode of our history, they will still be talking about a family named Zeitoun.

~ Timothy Egan, The New York Times Book Review

"Now, When the Waters Are Pressing Mightily" by Yehuda Amichai

Now, when the waters are pressing mightily

on the walls of the dams,

now, when the storks, returning,

are transformed in the middle of the firmament

into fleets of jet planes,

we will feel again how strong are the ribs

and how vigorous is the warm air in the lungs

and how much daring is needed to love on the exposed plain,

when the great dangers are arched above,

and how much love is required

to fill all the empty vessels

and the watches that stopped telling time,

and how much breath,

a whirlwind of breath,

to sing the small song of spring.

Translated from the Hebrew by Leon Wieseltier. Published in the New Yorker, 10 January 2005.