Here are a list of books and authors that ruined my youth. By the time I was in college, I became a quite irregularly-shaped peg that could not fit into any hole. I can point to each one and assign blame for spoiling my conformity. I will mention them in approximate order, and their indictments, if possible.
- “Teaching as a Subversive Activity,” Postman & Weingardener. Ruinous in their presentation that teaching, learning, school etc. are deliberate processes that were created by authorities for conformity.
- “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” Tolkien. Ipse dixit.
- “Crime and Punishment“, Dostoyevsky. An assignment that provoked unexpected thought.
- “Mother Night,” Kurt Vonnegut. On the death of false heroes.
- “Summerhill,” A.S. Neill A heretical portrayal of education.
- “The Hidden Curriculum,” Benson R. Snyder, Dean of Institute Relations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wrecked any chance of dignity and respect during my undergraduate years at MIT.
- “The Screwtape Letters,” CS Lewis. This locked me in the past, unable to ignore conscience – the burden carried by so many.
- Lewis Lapham, various works, editor of Harper’s Magazine. Too much truth, given to too many at too early an age, may lead to distress.
I endorse them all as Christmas gifts, with the caveat – warning, may cause suffering if taken seriously.