Winter Break Reading

For Johnnies, breaks are often a great chance to catch up on some reading. And the admissions office is no exception! We thought it might be fun to ask around the office and let you know some of the things your admissions counselors read over break.

Robin Lancaster (DE, MD, NJ, PA) dove into some history:

“I read a couple of things over the break. I read a book called Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer By James Swanson on the recommendation of a friend and I absolutely loved it. I am still working my way through Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition and Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States. On the fun side of things, I have also reread about 2/3 of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files in the past couple weeks to stay excited about the next book when it comes out hopefully this year.”

Amanda Stevens (Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe (except UK), the Middle East and Central Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal) picked a book appropriate to a world traveler:

“I read Around the World In 80 Days. It was gifted to me by a dear friend / fellow recruiter. Because we travel so much as part of our jobs here, she knew that I’d appreciate taking a trip with Fogg and Passepartout. World travel has changed a little bit in the last 150 years, but the adventure is no less thrilling.”

Todd Cooley (CT, ME, MA, RI, NH, VT, NY, MD) did some exploring of his own mind, and checked out some novels:

“I got the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and I’m obsessed with it. It has led me to reevaluate a lot of the decision making I do, and consider biases about my thoughts that I didn’t even know were there! I also picked up and started the novels Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, Beartown by Fredrick Bachman, and the graphic novel Blankets by Craig Thompson, all of which I’m very excited to continue digging into.”

Adrian Wallen (AK, AZ, NV, OR, UT, WA, IA, MN, WI, NM, KS, MT, NE, ND, SD, WY, ID, MO) dug into some classic Vonnegut:

“I’ve been reading Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut.  I enjoy the omniscient perspective and the detached, nonchalant tone that Vonnegut uses in his writing .  Mother Night mixes themes of love and patriotism, and examines the intentions underlying ones’ actions.”

Yvette Sobky Shaffer, our fearless leader here in Santa Fe, enjoyed some family time and some classic mystery:

“My daughter wanted this beautiful complete works of AA Milne, and it was buy one get one half off, so I purchased the complete works of Sherlock Holmes as well. I’ve been working my way through Doyle’s works over the holiday and loving the original stories. You see contemporary interpretations of the characters everywhere, but Holmes is not as socially inept as we often remember him, and Watson’s awe for his friend’s intellect is palpable. Perhaps Holmes was the first CSI investigator, despite the biases of the time, and some of the most outlandish crimes ever committed. We still love crime stories and mysteries! Only 800 more pages to go!”

Natalie Blais (Northern CA, January Freshman Program) likewise enjoyed the chance to spend time with both her kids and Sherlock Holmes, reading  the first eight books in The Magic Treehouse series with her kids and enjoying God of the Hive, the tenth book in Laurie King’s Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series.

Mary Versace  (administrative assistant) had a delicious find that she can’t wait to get started on:

“I had every intention of reading L’Appart over the break. But I was taken down with bronchitis the whole time and didn’t feel like doing any reading at all. I first found out about this book while watching the cooking show Milk Street with my nonagenarian father, which is something we love to do together. We ogle over the recipes they make, I talk about making some of them for him, and we always learn a lot of new ideas and techniques.  I have always been a foodie, and guess that trait was passed down by my parents! Chef/author David Lebovitz was a guest on the show one day and made an amazing looking chocolate caramel mousse. They spoke about his experiences in Paris and some of his books. It didn’t take long for me to buy the book “for my partner”, who is a native of Paris. Well, I figured we would both benefit from this gift – we could enjoy funny stories about an American living in his homeland, and I could make the recipes. Neither has happened yet, but I plan to turn that around soon.”

Alison Roper (CO, IL, Southern CA) faced every Johnnie’s favorite dilemma and ended up with a heroic legend:

“I was thrilled to finally have some time to dive into a good book over Christmas break. But the choice, as it always is for all Johnnies, proved much more difficult than expected. There were entirely too many options, which did indeed all accompany me home. The Return of the Ring? The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat? Loren Eiseley’s…well any of his books. The Monkey Wrench Gang? All good choices and all ones which I had either already started or had yet to even crack the spine of. Finally, after much deliberation, I chose the captivating and eerie world of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. A book beloved by anyone who is intrigued by the Arthurian legends, this time told from the perspectives of the women. A perfect read in the rainy and Spanish Moss-drenched woods of South Carolina.”

Randall Hollensbe (East and Southeast Asia, India, Oceania, TX, OK, AR) enjoyed some modern fantasy while also keeping up with one of his favorite D&D podcasts:

“I read the first three hundred pages of The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  Kind of a slog so far but picking up.  Wanted to make sure that I was keeping up with any “Acquisitions Incorporated” inside jokes…”

Meanwhile both Brittany Kemmer (Visit Program & Summer Academy) and myself (David Conway, Africa and NM) were kept busy with reading for the St. John’s College Graduate Institute!  Over in Annapolis, Brittany was working on Plato’s Meno and some selections from the Bible as part of the MA in Liberal Arts program, while I was puzzling my way through some early Buddhist discourses as part of the MA in Eastern Classics here in Santa Fe.

We hope you had the chance to enjoy some fantastic books over break as well, and we can’t wait to read about some of your favorites in your application essays! We’re now in our rolling application period, and you can find more information on how to apply here.

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