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FY18 Dean's Reading Fellowships: Home

The FY18 $1,000 Dean's Reading Honors College Student Fellowship

You will find below five possible reading packages for the FY18 $1,000 Dean's Reading Fellowship.  I seek to take on one or two students who will each commit to reading the exact same package. I see value for you in each of them. While I have listed five packages, I can only be a mentor for students reading the same package. I cannot cut myself too thin. It would give me great joy and it would be an honor for me to encourage you to take on one of these five challenges.

If you apply to receive this fellowship, please indicate which, if any, of the packages you would be willing to take on, Which, if any, you would definitely not take on. Or, if you wish, I will select the package for you.

I will meet with the recipient(s) once per week. This is likely to occur on Fridays either at 10:00 am or at 2:00 pm. I am somewhat flexible on this, but we must maintain regular and consistent contact on a weekly basis. I envision that the meeting will be mostly you talking about what you have read during the past week. You explain material to me. You become the storyteller. Aside from the Syntopicon Option, I have read everything else on this page already. However, my mind is growing feeble and I need you to remind me of the wonder and beauty of these stories. 

As you read, you will need to maintain a reading log notebook.

I have no idea if any of you will take up this reading challenge or if scores of you will rise to the occasion. If there are many of you who choose to apply and I cannot handle you all or if more than one reading package is being requested then it is possible that a fellowship may be awarded to you provided another mentor can be found to oversee the reading. You would need to locate that mentor. I would try to find one for you as well. No guarantees.

There is a finite amount of money available so the sooner you apply the better. You need to be an honors student in good standing with the Honors College. Most important is your love for learning. All majors are welcome. 

While the money is nice, it really should not be the primary driver that is causing you to apply for this fellowship. There should be something inside of you that draws you to this reading activity. Something that will encourage you or to make this commitment and follow through with it. 

To apply now, you need to register with UMass Lowell's Academic Works and select the Honors Endowment Scholarships.

So you say that you have never been much of a reader? Well, this is a chance to change all that - and get paid a bit for it.

If you are selected, reading will be on July 1, 2017 (or before if willing). If you cannot meet with me over the summer we will need to stay in frequent weekly contact via email.

I may be adding a few more reading packages.

My best to each of you, Jim Canning

Shakespeare's Comedies

Honors Fellowship Mentor: Jim Canning

​Here is a list of 14 comedies written by Shakespeare. For this FY18 Fellowship, internalize the first seven of them. These are the ones in red. Who knows, perhaps next year you can knock off the other seven comedies with another fellowship. How nice it would be for you to have read, understood, and explained these little masterpieces. Then you would own them. I envision that you would meet with Jim Canning once per week and explain what you read. You will maintain a "reading log" notebook. The meeting would generally go something like this: "Hi Jim, let me tell you all about Twelfth Night."  And off you go. Jim is not a literary critic, but he is a good listener.   Why not practice your oratory skills by explaining what is going on inside each of these seven plays. Jim has read them, but his mind is getting old. You need to remind him of the plot lines, the characters, the details. Are you game? Meetings will be on Fridays at either 10:00 am or 2:00 pm. We can start on July 1st or even earlier. I am interested in encouraging a student to learn this body of work. You can do this. It can and, I highly suspect, will be fun. You get to explain it to me. That is very cool. And you will not be graded on it. While there is never a guarantee, might you be able to springboard this fellowship into an Honors Project? Not with me as the mentor, I am not an expert on Shakespeare. But there are such experts around campus.

  • Twelfth Night
  • The Tempest
  • Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Merchant of Venice
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • As You Like It
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Measure for Measure
  • All' Well That End Well
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Winter's Tale
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona

Thomas Hardy Novels

Honors Fellowship Mentor: Jim Canning

So, Thomas Hardy wrote 14 novels. Might you set a goal to read five of them over the course of the next fiscal year? Put yourself on a reading schedule. Meet with Jim once a week. You explain to Jim what is going on in the book. You prepare the lecture and give it to Jim. I may invite others to hear you explain things. What great practice for you!

1. Tess of the D'Ubervilles
2. The Mayor of Casterbridge
3. Far from the Madding Crowd
4. The Return of the Native
5. Jude the Obscure

Who Cooks For You?

Honor Fellowship Mentor: Jim Canning

Here is the deal. There are some pretty awesome books out there that most people will never touch because they are too long. Forget that. Here are ten of them. Pick four. I have read all ten, but I need you to refresh my memory. Won't you commit to reading four of them over the entire upcoming fiscal year. You can even get an early jump by starting in May. Meeting with me once per week so you can remind me of how great they are? You explain them to me. I do not seek literary commentary. I just want you to tell me their story in your own words. What a great chance for you. Are there any takers? Anybody have the stamina for this? You are only young once. Join the conversation. In this list is the greatest novel ever written. Would be a shame to go through life without it in your inventory. You'd be a pretty smart bird to start knocking these books off of your life list. Yes, you need to maintain a reading log book.

1. Brothers Karamasov
2. Les Miserables
3. The Count of Monte Cristo
4. War and Peace
5. Anna Karenina
6. Moby Dick
7.Atlas Shrugged
8. Bleak House
9. Pillars of the Earth
10. Gone With the Wind

Pretty soon you will not have time to read these beauties. Life is going to get in your way: job, family, children, etc. That is all good. I suspect you will not believe me, but, now is the time. You have time in your life now. In a few short years life is filled with other beautiful things. Mull it over. 

The Syntopicon and the Western Canon

Honors Fellowship Mentor: Jim Canning

102 Great Ideas. Pick one. Use the Syntopicon to guide your way through a slice of the Great Books of the Western World.  Did you know that Honors Library has all of the Great Books from the 1964 edition?  Learn about the history of these books. How did they get selected? Who selected them? What is a Syntopicon? It is just an index. Take some time during the next fiscal year to own a slice of the great books. What are some of the great ideas? Forget about some .. how about all of them. Here they are:

ANGEL ANIMAL ARISTOCRACY 
ART ASTRONOMY AND COSMOLOGY BEAUTY 
BEING CAUSE CHANCE 
CHANGE CITIZEN CONSTITUTION 
COURAGE CUSTOM AND CONVENTION DEFINITION 
DEMOCRACY DESIRE DIALECTIC 
DUTY EDUCATION ELEMENT 
EMOTION EQUALITY ETERNITY 
EVOLUTION EXPERIENCE FAMILY 
FATE FORM GOD 
GOOD AND EVIL GOVERNMENT HABIT 
HAPPINESS HISTORY HONOR 
HYPOTHESIS IDEA IMMORTALITY 
INDUCTION INFINITY JUDGMENT 
JUSTICE KNOWLEDGE LABOR 
LANGUAGE LAW LIBERTY 
LIFE AND DEATH  LOGIC LOVE 
MAN MATHEMATICS MATTER 
MECHANICS MEDICINE MEMORY AND IMAGINATION 
METAPHYSICS MIND MONARCHY 
NATURE NECESSITY AND CONTINGENCY OLIGARCHY 
ONE AND MANY OPINION OPPOSITION 
PHILOSOPHY PHYSICS PLEASURE AND PAIN 
POETRY PRINCIPLE PROGRESS 
PROPHECY PRUDENCE PUNISHMENT 
QUALITY QUANTITY REASONING 
RELATION RELIGION REVOLUTION 
RHETORIC SAME AND OTHER SCIENCE 
SENSE SIGN AND SYMBOL SIN 
SLAVERY SOUL SPACE 
STATE TEMPERANCE THEOLOGY 
TIME TRUTH TYRANNY AND DESPOTISM 
UNIVERSAL AND PARTICULAR VIRTUE AND VICE WAR AND PEACE 
WEALTH WILL WISDOM 
WORLD    
 

Newbery Winners & Young Adult Books That Passed You By

Honors Fellowship Mentor: Jim Canning

Did you know that the Honors Library contains many of the young adult books that won a Newbery Medal. Only one medal winner per year. They are each wonderful books. They were recognized by the literary community as being first rate. Here is an opportunity to read a number of these gems. Put yourself on this reading program. Be methodical. Carry a highly acclaimed young adult book around whereever you go. You can start on July 1st or sooner. You will, of course, maintain a reading log. You will, of course, meet with Jim once per week to explain what you have read. Imagine that? Getting paid to read. Nice. Pretty soon you will create your life list of Newbery books read. Read them all over time. Not a bad goal. You many never get this chance again for the rest of life. We will need to make a schedule. These are easy reading, short books. Now that you are older, you will have a loftier view. Here is the initial list. I will add a few more.

1. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1995 Newbery Medal Winner)
2. Sarah, Plain and Tall (Newbery Medal Winner)
3. Bud, Not Buddy ( 2000 Newbery Medal Winner)
4. Dear Mr. Henshaw (1984 Newbery Medal Winner)
5. Shiloh (1992 Newbery Medal Winner)
6. Sounder (1970 Newbery Medal Winner)
7. Across Five Aprils (1965 Newbery Honor Winner)
8. Johnny Tremain (1944 Newbery Medal Winner)
9. Moon Over Manifest (2011 Newbery Medal Winner)
10. Hattie Big Sky (2007 Newbery Honor Winner)
11. Lyddie ( Set in Lowell. Need to read this.)
​12. Anne of Green Gables (Can't go through life without knowing Anne Shirley.)
13. Where Does the Red Fern Grow (Where exactly does the red fern grow?
14. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1977 Newbery Medal Winner)
15. Bridge to Terebethia ( 1978 Newbery Medal Winner)

Beauty Truth Justice Play and Love