Posted in Student Spotlight

Student Spotlights: Kathryn Dean


Kathryn Dean

Kathryn Dean ’13

Major: English

Minor: History

Do you have any special areas of interest, academic or otherwise?

I’m really interested in women’s history and women’s writing– that’s what I tend to focus on in my classes and where my interests tend to lie! Specifically, I love to look at formations of identity and spaces where women’s experiences can intersect.

What are your favorite resources at McCain Library?

Currently, I’m loving the Historical New York Times database– I’ve lost chunks of what could have been productive time looking through old headlines and articles. I’ve also been known to get sucked into the bound periodicals on the ground floor. (Pick up an old volume of TIME magazine sometime. So interesting.)

Do you enjoy reading? How would you describe yourself as a reader?

I love reading! As a reader, I’m a bit difficult, actually. It takes me a couple of tries to get into a fiction book unless it really captures me in the first few pages. I tend to be reading a lot of different things at one time, which can get tricky. I also like having something to eat or drink (or both), so I find myself reading in coffee shops a lot. And in the kitchen, which isn’t always ideal if you’re cooking. (Tip: watch your pasta. It will boil over. Dubliners can wait.)

It appears that my two adjectives would be fickle and hungry, which reflects very positively on me as a scholar.

What kind of books to you like to read outside of your classwork?

I like all kinds, really. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of poetry and young adult novels. It’s a nice break from the more dense and lengthy reading I do for class. (But it’s not any less meaningful, of course!)

What books do you recommend as must-reads?

My old standbys: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (a delightfully funny play– do yourself a favor and increase your enjoyment of Hamlet); F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s short stories; Persuasion by Jane Austen (a slim and refreshingly lovely volume); Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (for those who like fairy tales with a new spin on them– this has been one of my favorite books for most of my life); anything by Virginia Woolf.

Books I’ve read lately: poetry by Natasha Trethewey, especially from her new volume Thrall; The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which I actually read for class! it’s such a cool and interesting way to tell a story); Adoption Papers by Jackie Kay (I read it in a poetry class while I was abroad last semester); The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

I generally love comedies and old movies. I’ve also been drawn to indie dramas in the past with mixed reactions.

Are there any movies you recommend?

Mel Brooks movies, especially Young Frankenstein— classic.
Roman Holiday– I watched this movie for the first time last semester right before I did some traveling and it’s lovely.
The Up Series is a series of documentary films that follows a group of children from when they’re seven years old– there’s one made every 7 years. The first film is sort of based around the proverb “Give me the child at seven, and I will give you the man.” The children from Seven Up are now in their 50s. It’s really interesting to see not only the way their lives turn out, but the way in which they start pushing back on the concept of the project.
The Women (1939) is based on the play by Clare Boothe Luce– it’s a really fast-paced, witty movie that is certainly a product of its time and really interesting for that reason! No men make an appearance on screen for the entire movie, which is pretty cool.

Do you have any memorable stories about reading that you can share?

I started reading at an early age and have always been a voracious reader. But I think To Kill a Mockingbird was the first book that I really interacted with in a way that resembles the kind of literary analysis I do now as an English major– not only was I completely captivated by the story, but I was also analyzing it as a work of literature. I go back to it periodically and every time I’m shocked by how much I’ve grown. It’s a different book every few years

Is there anything else you would like to share?

My favorite places to sit in the library– because I’m sure you wanted to know– are on the patio on the first floor and the little hallway with the comfy chairs beside it. Lots of natural light! I also love my study carrel on the ground floor, but it’s mine, all mine. (Just kidding. Or AM I?)

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