Year O: University of Fun

Either you love lists, or you don’t.

If you don’t, would you mind giving me a few quick reasons why not? Please number them, and put the most important reasons first.

Just teasin’!

One of my favorite lists — after the types of pie for sale (you say menu, I say me’n’you should grab a slice and debate) — are reading lists.

Years ago, the back cover of every Cliff’s Notes provided an excellent list of classic literature. (And then came the internet; more on that in a moment.)

After being forced to tally her reading accomplishments from a Cliff’s Notes list, my friend Barbara from England (perhaps in her 60’s at the time?) remembered something she’d heard about on the radio many years prior:

During author F. Scott Fitzgerald and gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s affair in the late 1930’s, the differences in their education prompted him to create a reading list for her eventually called, “A College of One.”

When I learned of this list, I absolutely had to have a copy. I wrote to Princeton and waited several weeks for it to arrive (through the mail). I still have that copy. Thanks to our mutual friend the internet, you can get your copy in seconds right here.

Previously in Campfire Tales, I explained my launch of Year O, a year-long personal quest. One factor in that year includes tackling piles and piles of reading, much of it either Campfire Tales-adjacent or inspired. My hope is to come up with my own list of “books you should read” related to camping, national parks, and other topics familiar to longtime readers (yes, trees!).

Some of that reading is veeeeeerrrrrryyyyyy dry. To make it more palatable, I am calling it, “University of Fun.” (“College of Fun,” while a better play on the Fitzgerald list’s title, just sounds like a nickname for a party school on permanent Spring Break. Standards, people!) This mural, with ice cream flavors packed together like a stack of books, also inspired me.

I will be reviewing the books as I go, and will hopefully have my list put together by the end of the year (March 14th, 2022).

One book absolutely on my list? Lassoing the Sun.

Any other suggestions?

(I asked the internet and it made my brain explode.)

2 thoughts on “Year O: University of Fun

    • My favorite part of Fitzgerald’s list was how he put five of his own books on there. I plan on doing the same thing for myself, so you can expect to see my list after I write five books.


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