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.

  1. 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.
  2. The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” Tolkien.  Ipse dixit.
  3. Crime and Punishment“, Dostoyevsky.  An assignment that provoked unexpected thought.
  4. Mother Night,” Kurt Vonnegut.  On the death of false heroes.
  5. Summerhill,A.S. Neill  A heretical portrayal of education.
  6. 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.
  7. The Screwtape Letters,” CS Lewis.  This locked me in the past, unable to ignore conscience – the burden carried by so many.
  8. 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.