Stanford frosh get three books mailed to them


Incoming Stanford freshman students received three books by mail recently to help them make the transition to college.

The books aren't part of any course curriculum but instead part of the university's "Three Books" program for new students.

All have variations of young people seeking self-identity.

Lynda Barry's "One! Hundred! Demons!", Junot Diaz's "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and ZZ Packer's "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" were selected by professor Andrea Lunsford, director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, and Julie Lythcott-Haims, dean of freshmen.

"They are all somewhat coming-of-age stories," Lunsford said. "But I looked at what would appeal and speak to our incoming class, and I really liked them.

One of the books is a comic book, classified as a graphic novel. "One! Hundred! Demons!" is a series of 17 cartoons that the author describes as "autobifictionalography" about the "demons" she has confronted in her own life.

"Graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular and I've always been a fan of Lynda Barry," Lunsford said.

"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" is about a Dominican second-generational "ghetto nerd" fighting a family curse. It was a 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner.

Packer's "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" is a collection of eight short stories about the struggles of individual young people. Packer is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford.

The three authors will be part of a symposium for freshman students on Sept. 17.

— Don Kazak

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