Books That Inspire 2009

I am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe

From The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test to I am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe is an intriguing author. Charlotte is a portrait of a gifted freshman whose academic opportunities are discarded for social status at a basketball powerhouse university. Charlotte’s party scene foray is predictable while her boyfriend tries to shed “athlete-friendly” classes to learn something besides how to be a super-jock. Wolfe’s two college-age children vetted the book for “undergraduate vocabulary”; their campus vernacular is accurate. Negative inspiration? Yes. Charlotte impels me to mentor freshmen as scholars rather than releasing them to the stereotypes expertly and accurately portrayed here.

Alice M. Lanning
Director of Freshman Programs
University College