People's Choice: Philly reads at College and Bennett halls

One city, one book? Mayor Street has suggested that we do as the Chicagoans did and discuss a single tome. But which one? Not everyone we spoke to in College and Bennett Halls was on the same page when we asked for their choices.

Lark Hall
Professor, English

“Oh, that’s an interesting question. I would have to say instantly ‘The Price of a Child’ by Lorene Cary. It’s set in Philadelphia and it’s fiction. It has a range to it so it can be read by kids and adults. It’s about slavery and oppression so it’s very relevant.”

Yetza Johnson
Administrative Assistant, English

“For me there’s only one real book, the Bible. The only good book.”

Ann Marie Potts
Administrative Assistant, English

“I can’t give you a title but it has to be something in the fiction line. For me, reading is for relaxation.”

Marissa Greenberg
Dissertation student, English

“That is one of the most problematic questions to ask in Bennett Hall. It’s the one that’s gonna keep me standing here the longest. I’d always recommend fiction. Okay, ‘Romola’ by George Eliot. … It’s good for two reasons—it is one of Eliot’s best books [which is] not talked about and it punches holes in the grand ideas about life, like power, ambition [and] religion.

Ofonedu Goodwyn
Intern, Afro-American Studies

“‘The Celestine Prophecy’ by James Redfield. I guarantee that if you read it you will recommend it to somebody else. You can’t ask for a better book than that. It’s a quasi-spiritual book about looking at life from a different perspective. But it’s more than that. You just have to read it.”

Greg Djanikian
Director, Creative Writing

“Marilyn Robinson’s ‘Housekeeping.’ Oh wait, can I change that? How about short stories? Ray Carver’s ‘What We Talk About When We Talk about Love.’”

Hanna Poole
Administrator, History

“I think everyone in the city of Philadelphia should read ‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ because it’s simple and something everybody can understand and it’s not religious so it can touch everyone.”

Mary Ann McDonagh
Regional Director, International Admissions

“It is important for everyone in Philadelphia to read Ben Franklin’s ‘Autobiography’ because he means so much to the city. He was just such a big figure in American history and this city is where American history all began. I think it would help bring the people of Philadelphia together and make them proud of their city. I feel most people aren’t proud of Philadelphia, but they should be.”

—Malaina Freedman and Trinh Tran

Originally published on March 28, 2002