A canon for Canberra: UniC’s old take on what new students should read

For the last five years the University of Canberra has given all commencing staff and students a book, intended to encourage “conversation, discussion and engagement.” The first five were all relatively recent, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, Room by Emma Donoghue, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, The Strays by Emily Bitto and The White Earth by Andrew McGahan. But not so this year, with six 20th century and one 19th century classics on the shortlist: Muriel Spark’s, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, George Orwell, Animal Farm, John Steinbeck, The Pearl, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince, and Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. If there is a pattern CMM can’t see it, unless of course while all the titles are old they were all filmed – reading entire works of fiction might strike students as alarmingly novel (sorry).


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