2020 Book Collecting Contest Results

Every year in Annapolis, the Greenfield Library holds a contest through which Johnnies can submit a book collection – a series of personally owned books which are organized around a common theme. Students submit and essay and explain what makes each collection so special. This year, we had some great entries and winners. Below are descriptions of each collection, along with an excerpt from the introduction of each. The collections can be viewed all month in the Greenfield Library – if you are coming for a visit, be sure to stop by!

James Siranovich, Conducting and the Great Conductors: the collection of an opinionated, ardent fan and too-infrequent practioner (1990-present)

James Siranovich, Annapolis class of 2022

“Most people have some idea of what goes into playing the violin or the clarinet,
and can even distinguish a good player from a bad player. They know that
instrumentalists and singers study with teachers, practice, perform, and spend years
perfecting their craft. They know that it takes a long time to be good, and that excellence
is rare. However, most are not clear on what conductors are doing beyond ‘keeping
time’, and wonder if the orchestra really needs a conductor at all. They are also very
curious about the course of study that conductors follow, and what effect, if any, their
gestures have on an orchestra. The renowned conducting teacher Otto-Werner Mueller
used to make time-beating gestures in the air and intone, “You know, all THIS is five,
MAYBE ten percent of what we do.” So what’s the rest of it?”

Chance Hogan, Nude Narratives

Chance Hogan, Annapolis Class of 2020

“I can’t remember what the first Kathy Acker book I read was. I can remember
the first one I bought – Empire of the Senseless. I had heard about Acker from her
foreword of Samuel R Delany’s Triton. Forewords are usually skipped, but
Acker’s was bursting with energy, and her prose drove me along. One of the
comments in that foreword “Every book is dead until activated by a reader” has
lingered with me to this day.

Jessica Cole, Gateway Books: a collection of my childhood favorites

Jessica Cole, Annapolis

“By the time I turned 13, I had moved seven times. As I ping ponged from California to Indonesia,
the one constant in my life were my books. And when we settled into our current home, our house was quickly weighed down with over 700 of our favorites, but the ones that were the most precious to me were my gateway books. Every avid reader has gateway books: books that stole them away and introduced them to the joys of reading. My gateway books stayed with me through all of the moving and packing and donating until I graduated.
I moved across the country for college and my suitcase was, for the first time, bookless.
Objectively I knew that it made sense to leave them behind, but their absence seemed louder than ever as
I spent my first night alone in this strange new place.”

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