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Lion's Eye Favorite: Senior Bookmarks: from "Winnie-the-Pooh" to "Macbeth" and Beyond

Some of the 37 seniors who submitted reading lists pose with senior bookmarks

July 15, 2008

Senior bookmarks are an annual ritual, marking spring and upcoming graduation. Since 1993, the library has invited seniors to submit a short list of favorite books which are printed as bookmarks. "Senior bookmarks are one of the special traditions of the library," says Jacquelyn Thomas, Academy Librarian.  "Students look forward to the time in their senior year when they can submit a list."    

This year, over 265 titles were submitted by 37 students. Although a few authors appeared several times (Fitzgerald, Woolf, Shakespeare, and Exeter's own alumnus, John Irving '61, were popular), the collections show tremendous individuality.

Sean (shown at left) "tried to pick a variety of books – books that affected me strongly, books that changed the way I am." Sean's collection, called "Even Now," includes several American classics – Cannery Row and Inherit the Wind – along with Li Cunxin's Mao's Last Dancer and The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

Lowell, who named his collection, "When I Was Little," takes readers on a joyful ride through children's picture books: Curious George Flies a Kite by Margret Rey, Corduroy by Don Freeman, Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, among others.

Emily's "Escapes" collection travels from children's fiction – Charlotte's Web – on to 20th-century strongholds – Hemingway, Sylvia Plath – and contemporary eye-openers – Haruki Murakami.

The alliterati will appreciate Komal's collection, "An Amalgamation of Adventures," which includes works by Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo and Jhumpa Lahiri. And Elaine's "It's a Small World," makes the point with selections by Emily Brontë, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexandre Dumas, Julia Alvarez, Zora Neale Hurston, Amy Tan and Mark Twain.

For many students, these bookmarks are an evocative souvenir of friendships made at Exeter. When the Lion last visited the library, where the bookmarks are prominently displayed, several Exonians were gathering a full set of the 37 bookmarks to take home for keeps. 

Lion's note: this article first appeared May 27, 2008.

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