An eclectic assortment of books ranging from The Federalist Papers to Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road to Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, will be examined by distinguished poet, novelist, and critic Jay Parini in his talk, “Books that Changed America,” during the annual Dinner in the Library on September 12, 2013.
Based on his book, Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America, Parini’s talk will illustrate how these books were first received by American readers, how their reputations have changed, and how they shaped later writers and thinkers. As one example, Parini demonstrates that The Commonsense Book of Baby and Child Care, better known as the Dr. Spock book, offered clearheaded guidance to young parents who found themselves isolated from traditional networks of support with the great migration to the suburbs after World War II. Later, when Spock became a figure in the nuclear-disarmament movement, he became a convenient target by those who needed someone to blame for what seemed to be an entire generation’s rush to anarchy.
In his Promised Land book, Parini moves nimbly between the great watersheds in American letters, including Walden, Huckleberry Finn, The Souls of Black Folk, the 17th Century of Plymouth Plantation, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. According to Parini, each of these seminal works had a powerful influence in shaping America, which Parini will elaborate on during his talk.
A professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College in Vermont, Parini has written five books of poetry and seven novels, including The Last Station (made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer), as well as numerous biographies and works of nonfiction. He writes for many publications, including The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Guardian.
The eagerly-anticipated Dinner in the Library, the Library’s signature fundraising event, will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and introductory remarks by University Librarian Brian E.C. Schottlaender and UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla . The dinner will also include the presentation of the Geisel Citation for Library Philanthropy.
This year’s recipient of the award is John A. Berol, a founding member of the University Librarian’s Advisory Board, who served on the board for six years. He honored his mother recently, who was a librarian, by establishing the June Waterous Berol reading lounge in the Biomedical Library building. He has been a stalwart supporter of “Dinner in the Library,” the Library’s signature fundraising event, and has made in-kind contributions to the Mandeville Special Collections Library. Berol has a deep understanding of the importance of academic research libraries and the profound impact they make in the pursuit of knowledge and transformational discovery. He will be the Library’s fourth recipient of the Geisel Citation for Library Philanthropy.
To make reservations or for additional information about the event, please call 858-534-1183 or go to: http://libraries.ucsd.edu/about/dinner. Tickets are available for $225 per person.