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Reading Map

Presentation for Brown Summer High School
by

Everett Epstein

on 4 September 2015

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Transcript of Reading Map

Mapping
A Literary
Landscape

Middle School
Freshman and Sophomore Years
Junior and Senior Years
College (Freshman and Sophomore Years)
Senior Year
Middle School began my voracious appetite for fiction, specifically FANTASY! I could not get enough of Redwall, Merlin, and, of course, Harry Potter.
In High School, I transitioned to the classics of the 20th century. I was one of the few proponents of Holden, and Night destroyed me! I also discover Chris Ware around this time, who became a secret obsession.
My Junior Year I read "The Metaphysical Club" by Louis Menand, which soon consumed my life. American Pragmatism became the topic of every conversation I had for about a year. To balance these weightier philosophical concerns, I read a lot of Crime novels, and also stumbled onto Roberto Bolaño — a future favorite of mine.
I also collected comic books because neither philosophy nor crime fiction has nearly enough shark punching!
And... Comic Books
By college, I decided to become an expert on American Male Novelists, which there certainly are a lot of! Michael Chabon became easily my favorite of the bunch.
My Junior Year introduced me to Literary theory, which I hungrily applied to everything I had read before. It also prompted me to return to Bolaño, who quickly became my FAVORITE NOVELIST! Hey, at least he's not American! In my senior year I finally read Ulysses and Hopscotch, two massive novels in the canon, and this past summer, I started Infinite Jest!
From Elementary School To BVP
Elementary School
Out of School
I decided that I wanted to read more short story collections and poetry, which has led me down a rabbit hole of new reading opportunities. Alice Munro, Karen Russell, and Lorrie Moore have all been integral to my current reading list. As for poets, Thomas Lux, Billy Collins, David Berman, and of course Roberto Bolano keep me busy.
When I was in elementary school I gravitated towards Dr. Seuss, Richard Scary, and the dreary picture books of Maurice Sendak, like
Where The Wild Things Are
.
Summer of
2014
I recently got back into reading complicated literature, like Karl Ove Knausård's 6-part novel,
My Struggle
, which you'll get to read excerpts from later this year. I've never really experienced books quite like his. They're unsettling, honest, and deeply embaressing — qualities that I hope you aspire to achieve in your writing this year. Also, I'm still reading comic books, which have rarely been better than right now.
Summer of 2015
This summer, I went back to the big American novels, some traditonal (like Franzen and Tartt) and some experimental (like Cohen and July). These novels are all pretty hilarious and in different ways commenting on technology and the relationship between men and women. Of course, I'm still reading comics...
Full transcript