Student Reading Habits

I was very interested to discover that a lot of my students have read Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.  I read that when I was in high school, but I would have guessed that no one in their age group had heard of it.  Maybe I should see if they’ve read any Herman Hesse?

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"The Doc" is a professor at Vassar College (USA). However, the views expressed in his blog and comments are not necessarily those of Vassar, its administration, or other employees, none of whom bears any responsibility for his opinions.
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2 Responses to Student Reading Habits

  1. RD says:

    Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test still has a cult status with certain groups and I suppose is a rite of passage kind of thing for kids who become interested in the idea of psychedelics. Interest probably stems from a combination of curiosity about drugs, Wolfe’s style, the curiosity of people who have read/seen Cuckoo’s Nest and are fascinated by Kesey, that one “cool” English teacher you have, and general countercultural sympathies one develops in the later teen years.

    I read Electric Kool-Aid in high school, but my main motivation was interest in the Grateful Dead and their small role in the book. I doubt your students followed it up with a 600 page history of the Dead.

    Students who read Electric Kool-Aid will probably have read some or all of the following: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hesse’s Siddhartha, and Kerouac’s On the Road. Maybe some Charles Bukowski, Henry Miller, and William Burroughs, too.

    • The Doc says:

      Thanks for the comment! Interesting to know more about student reading habits.

      In addition to The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I’ve read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, almost every novel Hesse wrote, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I tried to read On the Road, but couldn’t finish it. (I like Truman Capote’s comment: “This isn’t writing; it’s typing.”) I could never get into Bukowski and Burroughs either. I should have read some Henry Miller, though.

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