Maddye Mitchell ’13
Do you have any special areas of interest, academic or otherwise?
I am interested in American history, women’s history, almost anything pertaining to Appalachia.
What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?
The librarians are by far the most valuable resource. They’ve helped me countless times when I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. Other than that, America: History & Life is my jam!
Do you enjoy reading? How would you describe yourself as a reader?
Reading is definitely my favorite occupation. When I was a kid, I started school a year early because I begged my mom to let me go. I became obsessed with reading because I found that I really did not enjoy the company of my peers, who were all a bit older and way cooler than me (it showed). Reading gave me a reason to have more conversations with my teachers and librarians, who were the people I most wanted to be like. I think this is how I became so attached to history. My life revolved around “stories” – any stories, I did not have much of a discriminating taste when it came to selecting books – and the narrative is the basic essence of history.
What kind of books to you like to read outside of your classwork?
I will read just about anything, but I rarely have the time. There are only a handful of books I can remember that I have not finished because I didn’t like them or found them uninteresting. Even books I don’t really enjoy I will attempt to finish so that I can have informed criticism. I like novels, such as the Millennium trilogy and The Hunger Games. I have a soft spot for historical fiction, so long as it is not completely outlandish and inaccurate. I will read any book on the topic of feminism or the Jazz Age.
What books do you recommend as must-reads?
Honorable mention: My favorite childhood books were the Madeline series. My sister named me after these books. I read Angela’s Ashes this summer and became enamored with the work of Frank McCourt. If you do not like this book, you are dead inside. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I got really into these stories as a kid, but they are enjoyable for people of all ages. The Hound of the Baskervilles contains my favorite phrase from all literature, which is a description of a man who is “as tenacious as a lobster”. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic and also my favorite book. This might be because it was also my mother’s favorite book. I grew up aspiring to be Harper Lee. If you haven’t read Atonement by Ian McEwan, stop everything and go read it. This is another favorite. Yes, James McAvoy is sexy and awesome in the film version, but the book is even better. It was a highly emotional read for me. I don’t think any other book has made me feel such profound sadness and rage. I read just about every fiction/nonfiction book about the Holocaust in my preteen years. The Pianist, Night, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Maus, Number the Stars, Survival in Auschwitz, Sophie’s Choice, I Have Lived A Thousand Years, All But My Life, Escape from Sobibor, Five Chimneys, The Girl in the Red Coat, Rena’s Promise, Sala’s Gift…I devoured them. Highly recommended. Others that require no explanation but will make you a better person: The Harry Potter series, The Catcher in the Rye, All Quiet on the Western Front, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Gone With the Wind, Candide, Wuthering Heights, The Bell Jar, The Color Purple.
What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?
I am mostly torn between classic movies and 90s teen movies, which are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I like anything that reminds me of the awesomeness of the 90s, like Cruel Intentions, 10 Things I Hate About You, Romeo + Juliet, Bring It On (technically from 2000, but close enough). Any movie with Meg Ryan, Julie Andrews, or Diane Keaton automatically gets top priority.
Are there any movies you recommend?
It Happened One Night. Claudette Colbert is so adorable and Clark Gable is so handsome. Ideal cute 1930s movie.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?, mostly because it is punctuated by the folksy Bluegrass music I grew up listening to.
The Sound of Music is my all-time favorite movie because Julie Andrews is the essence of a perfect human being. You cannot watch this movie and not smile.
You’ve Got Mail. Meg Ryan is my other example of a perfect person. This is my go-to feel good movie.
Gone With the Wind. Another classic. I fell in love the first time I watched it as a kid because I realized that Scarlett O’Hara was the sassiest bitch ever.
Do you have any memorable stories about reading that you can share?
I used to have to walk a mile from the bus stop to my house in middle school, so I would read as a walked, lest I lose valuable Harry Potter time. I do not recommend this. I walked headfirst into a parked truck. Very embarrassing.