Beeghly Library hosts series of blind dates

By Aleksei Pavloff, Sports Editor

Students and faculty at Ohio Wesleyan University were able to participate in the english department’s “Blind Book Date,” an event where participants weren’t allowed to judge a book by it’s cover: literally.

The English department’s Nancy Comorau organized the “date,” which was held last Friday in the Beeghly Library. Here, students had a chance to get familiar with books they did not know existed.

According to Assistant Professor of English Amy Butcher, the event was thought up to celebrate the english department and encourage students to take classes in the department. Some of the books that were included have appeared before in syllabi of the department’s classes.

The blind book date consisted of students and faculty walking from one table of concealed books to the next. On top of each lay a hand written description of the book beneath it. The meaning for this event was to let OWU students pick something unfamiliar when it came to reading stories.

“It was essentially a way to encourage students to perhaps step out of their comfort zone and nd a book that might not be something they would pick up again,” said Butcher.

The books put on display did not favor one genre over the other. Butcher said that each professor in the department was asked to write down a few books they thought were powerful, and that deserved to be shared.

Some books included “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, which is a Tony Award winning play.

Butcher said that partnership with the library on campus was helpful in making sure that the students know it has many diverse books and stories to choose from.

Professor reads from her new book

By: Katie Kuckelheim, Transcript reporter


Dr. Amy Butcher read from her memoir in the Bayley Room before a crowd of students and faculty. Photo courtesy of Katie Kuckelheim.
Dr. Amy Butcher read from her memoir in the Bayley Room before a crowd of students and faculty. Photo courtesy of Katie Kuckelheim.

Amy Butcher, assistant professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan, recently published a memoir about her own years as a college student, and on Sept. 17, she gave a reading in Beeghly Library.

But “Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder” is not a typical campus story.

Butcher’s book details the homicide of Emily Silverstein, who was murdered by her boyfriend Kevin. Butcher was close with Kevin, and even walked home with him on the night of the murder.

Butcher’s interest in the nonfiction genre led to the writing of the book. She writes, “I’m drawn to the essay form because it allows me to step into someone else’s shoes, or perhaps to write a reader into them.”

Kevin had struggled with clinical depression his whole life. With her memoir, Butcher hopes to “add to the chorus of conversation on the often taboo topic of mental illness in America.”

When asked how the events of the book changed her life, Butcher said, “I subscribe to the belief that everything that happens to us invariably shapes us, but in this way, I feel this event shaped my everything. Perhaps I won’t feel this way years from now, and perhaps that will be a blessing, but for now, I think the easier question is to consider the ways in which this event hasn’t shaped me. I have a hard time coming with much, frankly. We are molded exponentially by what we know.”

Sophomore Hayley Mandel, said, “I read it last year. It is a piece that you think about very deeply for a long time. I think back to it often.”

Professor Karen Poremski of OWU’s English department said, “I admire professor Butcher’s ability to address difficult issues in a reasonable, calm way.”

Reading is good for you, kids!

I love reading. I love reading books, magazines, newspapers, online articles. Anything that has words printed on it, I’ll read it. And I’ve always been like this. My parents told me that when I was about three, they came in to read me a story before bed. Instead of welcoming their presence, they said, I told them they could go away and I could read it myself. And since then, I haven’t been able to stop.

I remember as a kid staying up way past my bedtime to read a book. I would hear my parents coming up the stairs and I would run to turn my light off. Once I heard their door close, I would turn it back on and continue my adventure. Sometimes, I got caught and heard the exasperation in their voices. “Emily, turn off your light and go to bed.” I like to think that they were secretly happy that I was up reading.

And even as a junior in college, I stay up way too late finishing books. It always goes like this, “Ok, only one more chapter, then I’ll go to bed.” The chapter finishes. “Well, that wasn’t a good ending point, one more.” Then, “That chapter was incredibly short, one more.” That would go on until I had 20 or so pages left in the book, and then I would have to finish it. And then I would wake up about three hours later for class and hate myself. But I never learn my lesson.

Growing up, I always carried a book on me. I took one to the dentist’s office, doctor’s appointments and even to sleepovers, you know, just in case we had some free time. And today, I keep one in my purse at all times.

However, one thing I never understood was when kids would proudly say, “I don’t read. I hate it.” I understand if it’s not your favorite thing to do in the world. Hey, I don’t like sports. But bragging about not reading a book for school isn’t cool. I knew people in high school who didn’t read any of the assigned books for class. Yeah, they got by alright thanks to Sparknotes, but I always thought it was ridiculous that they bragged about it. It was like they were proud of not reading. That always hurt my heart. Reading has been one of the only things that has kept me sane in my life; it’s a form of escapism.

When Greg Moore, an Ohio Wesleyan journalism alumnus, came, he told some of us that one of the habits of extremely successful people he has met is that they all read a book a week. Now, I’m not talking about Anna Karenina length a week. It could be anything. If fiction isn’t your style, that’s cool. There are so many genres of books it makes my mind boggle. Whatever you’re interested in, there is probably a book about it. Trust me, I know. I’ve read books about the creation of The Clash’s album, London Calling all the way to books about true crime throughout history.

Now that we are all at that points in our lives, I hope that telling someone you don’t read isn’t a sense of pride like in high school. And I’m not saying reading needs to be your favorite thing in the entire world, like it is mine. I’m just saying you should pick up a book every once in a while. It might surprise you how much you actually enjoy it.