Monday, January 28, 2008

George Lamplugh "The Book That Changed My Life"

History teacher Dr. George Lamplugh shares his experience with a book that profoundly impacted him.

"Many years ago, in grad school, I was reading the preface to a book about Kentucky politics after the American Revolution and noted that the author had good things to say about Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim, a novel set in a backwater college in England after World War II. Amis follows the stumbling academic career--and love life-- of the title character, a historian who has very little good to say about either college teaching or historical research. I was so taken by the description of the novel that I found a copy, read it--and laughed myself silly. Then I put it down and forgot about it until I had been at Westminster for a few years.

At that time, the politics of this place were pretty brutal, and each year brought a series of bizarre events. Trying to navigate these conflicts and crises proved very stressful. One summer, anticipating with dread the crazy events the new school year would no doubt have in store for me, I picked up Lucky Jim and re-read it. Once again, I could hardly stop laughing; then it occurred to me that, having experienced in Amis's fictional academic setting a place that made Westminster seem almost "normal" by comparison, I might now be better prepared to return to work in the Fall. And I was! Pleased with the results of this literary therapy, I made it a practice over the next decade or so to re-read Amis towards the end of every summer. It never failed to prepare me to cope with the new school year!"

Thanks to George Lamplugh for sharing this! If you're interested in contributing a post on the topic of "The Book That Changed My Life", please contact Librarian Barker:

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