FYS 100 Book Ranking

/ 4 December 2010

For this final FYS journal entry for the first semester I’m going to be ranking each of the six books I’ve read in FYS so far (6 being the best and 1 being the least) and explaining how they fit into the overall theme of my FYS class: Unfairness. Usually each journal is supposed to be about 2 pages in length, but for this entry I’ll determine the length more on the 1-paragraph minimum for each book.

6: Nickel and Dimed Nickel and Dimed is at the top of my ranking because it seemed to be the closest to the situations that we, as Americans, will probably find ourselves within regarding this theme. The book is more of a, shall we say, academic study than it is a novel, and this lends it some credit for an academic study of unfairness, which is essentially what this FYS class is. Of course, as we noted when discussing the book in class, that can also lead to questioning the authenticity of the analysis. However, the fact remains that as it is set in the present United States it is the single example of unfairness that we can all relate to the most. Nonetheless, aren’t we all going to a private academic institution? So we may not be as close as some to falling into the grasp of unfairness it illustrates…

5: Three Cups of Tea Three Cups of Tea was, in general, an amazing story that is made more amazing just because of not only it being true, but it being recent. The unfairness it illustrates is that of the Pakistani government’s oppression of lesser Pakistani villages. Greg’s work (as much of it as the book talked about) crossed through 2001, and as such occurred alongside the heightening of the “war on terror”. This book made the general unfairness the western world imposes on the 3rd-world countries clear for anyone who may not have yet understood it. Further, what really moved me about the story is how much change one person could make when his heart was in it. Throughout our exploration of unfairness this is something that we all should keep in mind, change is possible.

4: Nectar in a Sieve Nectar in a Sieve is similar to Three Cups of Tea, and that is the main reason it falls just below Three Cups of Tea. This book touches on many of the same issues of unfairness as Three Cups of Tea. But unlike Three Cups of Tea, Nectar in a Sieve has a larger focus on the local people than a good-hearted foreigner. This is also a good lessen to keep in mind when exploring unfairness, as it shows the power of those on the worse end of an unfair power structure. This book fit nicely within our exploration, and was a good book to read right before Three Cups of Tea.

3: Brave New World I just finished reading Brave New World, and so the connections it has to unfairness will naturally be the easiest to make today. Nonetheless I place it just below the mark of overall best to overall least because of the components of it that still feel unrealistic. My entire final paper for this semester goes into more depth in comparing the World State and the United States (and as such can be an extension of this paragraph once put online in a little more than a week), but the World State does have some depictions of unfairness that are helpful to our exploration. Among other things, the lack of individuality and freedom in the World State is something we can associate with many of the oppressive institutions over time. The closest example of which is slavery here in the United States. However, the civil rights movement annihilated another example, and both Nectar in a Sieve, and Three Cups of Tea are other examples. This book shed an interesting light on unfairness overall.

2: The Bluest Eye The Bluest Eye was the first book we read this semester, and the situation of unfairness it was centered on involved that of blacks versus whites here in the United States. The book was quite interesting, and it was focused on an unfairness in the United States. In reading it we got our first major impressions of unfairness for this class, so for that alone it had value. However, it wasn’t as powerful of a depiction as many of the later books were. All of the books build on one another, so that, too, may be why I place this book so low on my ranking of value.

1: The Things They Carried The Things They Carried was a great book, but its focus on a war meant that it couldn’t quite focus on unfairness at its heart. The book was a great exploration of unfairness, and of in turn a soldier’s experiences tied to the war. The unfairness it depicted was not as easy to pick out as in many of the other books (save, perhaps, Brave New World), and so it falls to the bottom on that criteria alone.

Saying all that, ranking is nothing. All these books were great depictions of unfairness in their own ways. None were less than any other. Plus, all the books were wonderful to read regardless of any academic connections, I actually read ahead in many of them because I simply enjoyed the reading. I’d recommend all of them to you if you have the time to read them. I guarantee that each will be fun and thought-provoking!