Saturday, May 18, 2024

Eight of the greatest campus novels ever written

Elise Juska’s new novel, Reunion, was named one of People Magazine’s “Best Books to Read in May 2024.” Her previous novels include The Blessings, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and If We Had Known. Juska’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri ReviewPloughshares, The Hudson Review, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize from Ploughshares, and her short fiction has been cited by The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

[The Page 69 Test: Reunion; My Book, The Movie: Reunion]

At CrimeReads Juska tagged eight novels "that interrogate the modern college experience or reflect on the past with a knowing eye." One title on the list:
Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members

This blistering academic satire is composed as a series of letters by Jason Fitger, a writing and literature professor at a meh Midwestern college, contending with drastic budget cuts to the English department and his once-promising writing career. He’s routinely called upon to compose letters for students, colleagues, committees—the very relentlessness of these letters a jab at academic culture—to say nothing of their content, which is scathingly funny and wincingly true. (Schumacher’s sequels, The Shakespeare Experiment and The English Experience, are hilarious/painful too.)
Read about another entry on the list.

Dear Committee Members is among Emily Temple's sixty top campus novels from the last 100 years, Louise Dean's top ten novels about novelists, Emily Temple's fifteen great campus novels published in the last decade, Jenn Ashworth and Richard V. Hirst's ten top modern epistolary novels, Maureen Corrigan's top 12 books of 2014, Kate DiCamillo's 3 favorite books of 2014, and Ellen Wehle's four top novels "in which teachers and students run just a little bit off the rails."

The Page 69 Test: Dear Committee Members.

--Marshal Zeringue