Thursday, April 05, 2007

On Books as Presents

So, Mountain Man sent me a book, and it arrived today. The book is Alfred Lubrano's Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams. I'm a little under a third of the way into it, and it is... well, it is a great fucking book. Anybody who is in the first generation of people in their family to go to college, and anybody who teaches people in the first generation of their family to go to college, should read it.

And I have to give special props to Mountain Man for telling me that I should read it. First of all, maybe because of my line of work, people don't generally send me books. Either they figure I've read them already or they figure that I'm far to swank in my reading interests to be interested in what they might recommend. The only person who regularly makes reading recommendations to me is my friend J., who keeps me abreast of what's hot in the book club/chick lit circuit. Second, when people do recommend books or get me books, they often don't pick things that I really think are any good. So then comes the awkward thing of having to pretend that what they've recommended or given me is not lame so as not to be rude. It is SO NICE to get a book that one is really into. Even if it is... I don't know... in some ways a difficult book to read because of all of the things it's making me think about.

But so I may actually write about the book in a real way when I'm done with it, but even only as far in as I am, I felt like I had to mention it tonight. I've talked about class stuff a bit here and there - I think both on this blog and the last, but maybe just on my old one? I don't know. But this book really does reflect a lot of what I've thought about class on my own, in my own experience, as somebody growing up working class and who now, freak of her family, is part of the intelligentsia. I don't know. I can't write about this articulately yet. But if you have any interest in such things, this is a book worth reading.


Doctor Pion said...

That sounds really interesting, as do the comments and reviews on Amazon. My wife is in that category (she just told me that some friends in Drum Corps rejected her when they found out she was going to go to college, a CC at that), as are many of my students. To a certain extent, my PhD sets me apart even though my family all went to college. I can't imagine the jump you made.

My only concern is whether I will be forced to drink the Kool-Aid, but it sounds like this book comes from outside the Ed Establishment.

Comet Jo said...

That IS a great book. I also like the title essay in Marianna Torgovnick's "Crossing Ocean Parkway" since so much of what Lubrano writes about is working class masculinity, its interesting to get a woman's perspective as well. (This isn't me, by the way, I'm a much more typical Jewish child of a college prof, but I teach on "success" as a cultural value in the U.S. hence looked through a lot of this stuff--and found myself pretty much unable to put down Lubrano's book.)

Laurie said...

I'm going to pick up the book! I am the second person on my dad's side to graduate college, and for sure the first to get a PhD. I'm really interested in how often people just assume I come from a wealthy, educated family because I am educated.

Bardiac said...

This sounds interesting! I'll put it on the list; sounds like it could be worth using in our writing class common book project.