Alumnus Ginger Bollinger seeks 60 book recommendations for 60th birthday

Everyone, say hello to Ginger Bollinger.bollinger

Ginger graduated with a B.S. in Office Administration in 1978 and an M.A. in English in 1995. She has had a satisfying and successful career as an Executive Administrator in Fortune 500 and Nasdaq 100 companies in the auto industry and in healthcare as Assistant to the CEO. Ginger currently manages a small consulting business in Boulder, Colorado, but lives in the Twin Cities, just outside Saint Paul. She met her husband, Mark, on a blind date at Ball State in 1973 and they just celebrated their 40th anniversary. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and three terrific grandchildren.

Below, Ginger outlines her success, and introduces an important book project that she needs our help with.


Read on!

Tell us about your project and what you’re looking for.

I have a project that I’d like to begin in mid-December. It’s a big idea that revolves around my upcoming 60th birthday.

For quite some time I’ve been thinking about ways to mark and honor this milestone in a way that challenges me and helps me to grow, and that will represent for me a continuous effort over the course of my 60th year to honor the intellectual, physical and spiritual aspects of who I am.

The physical dimension of my plan is to walk 600 miles of Minnesota trails during the year, and I am working with the Feed My Starving Children organization to pack 6,000 meals between December 15, 2014 (my birthday) and December 14, 2015 as an act of service to honor my commitment to my faith.

I determined early on to read 60 books in my 60th year as the intellectual facet of my plan, but I have been wrestling for some time with the reading list.  I started by researching the book that was Number One on the New York Times Best Seller list on the date closest to my birthday every year since I was born.  I didn’t like that list at all.

Then I took the Random House Modern Library lists of the top 100 novels–both the list of the board and the list of the readers–and through a process of eliminating duplicate entries on the two lists, and then limiting the combined list to only one book per author, I got a list from which I selected the highest rated 60.  I thought I was done.

But as the time draws closer to begin my project, I’m finding a couple of issues with this list.  First of all, on a practical level, the math is clear, and it means starting a new book about every six days for the entire year. I still work full-time, so it’s a lot to take on.  And, it means that I can’t have a list of 60 books like…

  1. An American Tragedy
  2. Atlas Shrugged
  3. Battlefield Earth
  4. Lord of the Rings trilogy
  5. Ulysses

It’s just not possible for me to accomplish my 60-book goal this way.

Additionally, since one of my goals for this project is reflecting on my life to this point and contemplating what is yet to come, I would like the books to feature a woman who is doing her best within the confines of her place in history, or who experiences some measure of personal growth or self-discovery.

So here’s the question:  If you were creating a reading list for me, what books would it include?  

Send responses…

  1. by commenting on this post via WordPress
  2. via e-mail to gingerb(at)grahamoffices(dot)com
  3. message me via Facebook.

How did your English major lead to your career?

My English major didn’t lead to my career. My career led to my English major.

My undergrad degree was instrumental in my obtaining a great administrative position and in the challenging career I’ve enjoyed for the last thirty plus years.

But in 1989, fifteen years into a marriage and with a great job and two young boys, I had a strong desire to study again, and as Mark and I wrestled with what this decision would mean for our family, I told him that I did not want to choose a focus for my advanced degree based on what it would mean for my career. I wanted to choose based on what made my heart sing.

I did just that, and while my English masters has not directly advanced my career, it has enriched my life–making it fuller, more meaningful and more rewarding. As a result, everything I do is more impactful than it would have been otherwise.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out what comes next in their lives?

Here’s some advice…

  1. Try not to stress so much about it.
  2. Whatever is next won’t be what is last.
  3. Today more than at any other time in history, your options are endless, and the key point here is that they will always be so.
  4. Don’t get hung up by thinking you might make a mistake. I hope you do. We learn from mistakes.

Thanks, Ginger! Good luck!

There you have it, Ball State English. Send your recommendations to Ginger…

  1. by commenting on this post via WordPress
  2. via e-mail to gingerb(at)grahamoffices(dot)com
  3. message Ginger via Facebook.

We will also be collecting recommendations for Ginger via Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t forget to tweet your recommendations using #bsuenglish!

 

 

0 comments

  1. Some suggestions:

    Novels:
    Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    My Antonia by Willa Cather
    Towelhead by Alicia Erian
    Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason
    Untamed State by Roxane Gay
    That Night by Alice McDermott
    Easter Parade by Richard Yates

    Short stories:
    A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell
    The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    Death in the Woods by Sherwood Anderson
    Adventure by Sherwood Anderson
    The Babysitter by Robert Coover
    The Fat Girl by Andre Dubus
    How to Talk to a Hunter by Pam Houston
    People Like that are the Only People Here by Lorrie Moore
    Meneseteung by Alice Munro
    Where are you Going, Where Have you Been by Joyce Carol Oates
    The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

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