UMassD Q&A on World Book Day with English Professor Robert Waxler

Today, April 23, 2015 is World Book Day celebrating, authors, illustrators, books, and reading. Professor Waxler discusses why reading books still matters and his own list of 10 books we should read before we die.

UMass Dartmouth English Professor Robert Waxler's newest book The Risk of Reading: How Literature Helps Us to Understand Ourselves and the World, out in paperback and hardcover version, explores the implications of modern life through the reading of significant literary works. The author defends the need for fiction to give real life meaning. Bloomsbury Publishing, an award-winning company in New York City and London, is the publisher for The Risk of Reading. 

Today, April 23, 2015 is World Book Day celebrating, authors, illustrators, books, and reading. Professor Waxler discusses why reading books still matters and his own list of 10 books we should read before we die. 

Why does reading books matter? 

RW: Reading books matters because by engaging with the language of a printed book, we can better understand ourselves and our relationship with the world. Books can change lives. When we read a book, the book reads us. It is as if we are in a meaningful dialogue as we journey through our lives on a quest to know our indivdual identity and our connection to others. In an age oversaturated with digital technology, we need, more than ever before, to focus on deep reading of books. 

Can you name for us the 10 books that we should read before we die? 

RW: 

  1. Moby Dick
  2. Huckleberry Finn
  3. Anna Karenina
  4. Brothers Karamazov
  5. Heart of Darkness
  6. Catcher In The Rye
  7. Middlemarch
  8. Frankenstein
  9. The Old Man and The Sea
  10. The Great Gatsby 


About Robert Waxler: 

Robert Waxler earned his Bachelor of Arts at Brown University, his Master's at Boston College, and Ph.D. at the State University of New York. He co-founded the internationally known alternative sentencing program for criminal offenders, Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) program in 1991. CLTL was founded on the philosophy that literature has the power to transform men's and women's lives. Through connections made with literary characters, individuals gain insight into their lives and behavior, while learning that they are not alone with their problems. 

Professor Waxler is also the co-founder of the UMass Dartmouth Center for Jewish Culture. He has served as Chairman of the English Department, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of Continuing Education. He has authored or co-authored several books, including Changing Lives Through Literature, Finding a Voice, Transforming Literacy, Losing Jonathan, and Courage to Walk.


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