Fifteen years ago, the January 26, 2005 PAS Beacon had an article by Grady Mc Cune entitled, “The Most Loved and Hated of Abbey Reading.” The Library thought it would be interesting to ask students to informally re- visit this question about required reading in their English and Humanities classes. Students were asked to consider ALL of the books that were required during their four years at the Abbey.
In 2005, the best books, in order, were Canterbury Tales (by Chaucer), Beowulf and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (by Shakespeare).
The worst? Students chose Ethan Frome (by Edith Wharton), Dues lo Volte, Chronicle of the Crusades ( by Evan S. Connell), and Paradise Lost (by John Milton)!
In 2020, the list looked a little different.
The best reading was:
THE GREAT GATSBY (26 votes)
MOBY DICK (24 votes)
Dante’s INFERNO (11 votes)
HAMLET (9 votes)
SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT (8 votes)
Twenty-two other books received between 5 and one vote each.
Some also voted for worst, although not asked, and that turned out to be the summer reader last year!