Reading is an integral part of a lot of classes at Hopkins. As a Sociology Major, reading and writing about relevant topics is literally my job, so I have grown accustomed to reading books as part of my class assignments. Luckily, I love reading, always have, and always will. The beauty about reading for classes, rather than just for fun, is that you have academic discussions about the books with experts on the topic (and sometimes, if you are lucky, with the actual author). Take a look at the books that I am reading through for some of my classes.
$2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer
$2 a Day is an extremely well-received book about the lives of the impoverished Americans that make up the $2 a day poor. The book is a series of short vignettes about the lives of these poor families, with information provided by onsite qualitative research done by the authors. The book paints a stark picture of the intricacies of the welfare system, and how the extreme poor navigate their daily lives with such little income. My class, Poverty and Social Welfare Policy, is actually taught by the author, Kathryn Edin. It is amazing that Hopkins has Professors that provide real world experience in the areas they teach. Dr. Edin is an extraordinary Professor that provides our small class with actual stories of her research and about things that you sometimes cannot even find in the book, or any book for that matter.
Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel
For my class, Men and Women in Society, we have read multiple books on gender in society, but this book, Guyland, has certainly been the most revealing. Guyland focuses on the age range of 16-26 year old men, and discusses how shifts in society have allowed men in the range to stop being children earlier, but also to delay becoming men until later. The book touches a lot of sensitive topics, from fraternity hazing to sexual assault, and usually creates tense discussions. Our class is very open with discussing sensitive topics because we, and most other students at Hopkins, believe that reaching out our comfort zone makes us better academics and people. Overall, this class has provided a great view of the privileges I was not aware that I had as a man, and how to better understand and interact with these tough situations and topics.
The Enduring Debate by Canon, Coleman, and Mayer
The Enduring Debate is a compilation of important literature in American Politics that I am reading for (no surprise here) my Introduction to American Politics course. I specifically like this book because it is not a traditional book. The book separates literature, ranging from Roosevelt to Rosa Parks, on specific topics of importance in American Politics. The wide array of readings in the book provide a great variation in discussions that we have during our section meetings. The beauty about a book like this is that the different authors provide different viewpoints, which creates an inclusive environment for students with different viewpoints to discuss openly.
A lot of my college workload has been reading, and as you can see by the books above, that makes my life pretty interesting. Luckily, as a Sociology Major, I am introduced to a large number of different topics and different viewpoints to understand society as a whole. I love that since coming to Hopkins, I have been so well-rounded and cultured by the people around me in class and the topics we discuss together.