Monthly Archives: August 2014

Jennifer Bute’s advice on what to do with a Ball State English major

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It’s pretty common for English majors not to know exactly what they want to do with their lives. That’s why we feature Ball State English alums here.

We want to give you some stars to steer by.

Check out all our archives posts on “Life After the English Major.

Jennifer Bute graduated with a major in English in 1997 and then went on to pursue an academic career in Communication Studies. She specializes in communication about reproductive health, and you can check it out here. Currently, she’s an Associate Professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and she has some great advice about how to figure out what you want to do with your English major. Continue reading

English Literature Alum Kaylie DiGiacomo Recommends Beowulf

By J. R. Skelton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In this installment of our recommended reads series, Kaylie DiGiacomo, an English Department alum who graduated in May with a focus on Literature, recommends the newly released translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien.

During my early teen years I made it a challenge to see how difficult of a book I could read successfully, partly out of a genuine interest in improving my reading abilities but mostly out of the misguided belief that I could brag about having read such a book, as if my peers would marvel at my intellect.

Though I look back and groan at that attitude, my old habit of choosing the dustiest and least approachable books did have its benefits, especially after I ventured to read Beowulf (700–1025?). I first picked up Seamus Heaney’s side-by-side translation of Beowulf expecting what many might from the oldest surviving epic written in English: something antiquated and unrelatable; a hack-and-slash warrior adventure written in the dead husk of Old English.

What I found was a poignant and haunting story about meaning and mortality in a world where death is glory. Continue reading

Part II of II: Recommended Reads from Dr. Frank Felsenstein

Last week, Dr. Frank Felsenstein recommended a series of books dealing with the Holocaust. In part two, he reviews John Gilstrap’s High Treason, and describes a fascinating close encounter with the author. He also reviews two titles by William Boyd.

John Gilstrap’s High Treason

Just before the end of semester, I was invited to a Ball State “Town And Gown” dinner, and, over a delicious meal, found myself sitting next to John Gilstrap, a well known thriller and screen writer, who was to be the after dinner speaker. In lively conversation, Mr. Gilstrap showed an uncanny knowledge of guns and armory.

Continue reading