My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Monday, December 18, 2023

December 18, 2023: Fall Semester Finds: Nguyen’s Novel in Capstone

[For my annual Fall semester reflections series, I wanted to share some of the new texts and ideas I encountered this semester. I’d love to hear things you discovered or rediscovered this Fall in comments!]

It’s pretty rare, here in my 19th year at Fitchburg State (and 24th of college teaching overall), to get to teach a text I’ve never taught before. It’s even rarer to teach one that I haven’t had the chance to read in full prior to teaching it—and maybe that’s not recommended pedagogical practice, but it’s also a way to guarantee that I will get to read books I’ve been wanting to! That’s exactly what I was able to do in my English Studies Capstone course this semester, assigning as the Literature work (I divided the readings in that class up into the different concentrations in our English Studies Major) Eric Nguyen’s novel Things We Lost to the Water (2021). I loved Nguyen’s book, particularly the way he weaves together its two distinct yet interconnected settings of Vietnam and New Orleans (not entirely unlike one of my favorite songs, Springsteen’s “Galveston Bay”). But what I loved even more was that when we came up with a handful of questions as a class that we wanted to ask Nguyen, he responded thoughtfully and at great length, offering these graduating English Studies students (many of them professional writers in training) a vital perspective as well as a model for remaining approachable and engaging at every stage of our careers.

Next Fall find tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Other Fall finds you’d share?

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