Goucher College - Applestein-Sweren Book Colllecting Prize Essays

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The competition encourages Goucher students to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives; to appreciate the special qualities of printed or illustrated works; and to read, research and preserve their collected works for pleasure and scholarship.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 33
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    Changing With the World
    (2023-02-24) Krist, Autumn
    While growth and change aren't the same thing, they are oftentimes hand in hand. For me and this collection, growth and change go hand in hand. This book collection started in about 2021 when I took a medical leave of absence from Goucher because of my mental health during online schooling. It was a scary moment of change and it was the most impactful moment of growth that I have had since going to college. Although I wasn't able to work in the jobs that I'd wanted to during my leave of absence, I'd made a promise to myself to keep learning. This presented itself in taking online courses about stuff that was in my interest and reading. The books and ephemera that I've gathered in my collection hit home to me and expanded my worldview and my thoughts on myself.
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    The Secrets to My Nancy Drew Collection
    (2023-02-24) Firestein, Joan
    I love Nancy Drew. Ever since I was in third grade and read The Mystery at Lilac Inn and The Hidden Staircase I have been hooked. Besides reading at least one book from almost every Nancy Drew series, I have seen every film and TV adaptation, and played all of the PC games. While her character has been a role model and inspiration for me, I have also gained inspiration and knowledge. My love of writing fiction comes from wanting to tell mystery stories; because of Jennifer Fisher, Nancy Drew historian and owner of a massive Nancy Drew collection, I discovered the occupation of a consultant; and lastly, I have learned so much about Nancy Drew both as a character and as the series.
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    My Father's House
    (2023-02) Finnigan, Reese
    The house I was raised in guided my interests. It’s thanks to my parents that I have a collection of books on rock and roll.
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    Reese's Rock and Roll
    Finnigan, Reese
    I think a lot of people assume that the years that make you into who you are happen when you’re a teenager. And, I mean, certainly, the teenage years are really formative; I think a lot of who I am was shaped by experiences I’ve had in the past few years. But I think that we start being shaped into who we are well before the dark days of high school. I don’t think we stop loving the things we loved when we were little kids, even decades later. My parents gave me a stuffed animal when I was a baby, and I still sleep with it every night, nearly two decades later. Similarly, the house I was raised in guided my interests. It’s thanks to my parents that I have a collection of books on rock and roll.
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    The Creative Lives of Bad Feminists
    (2022-03) Jackson, Morgan
    Books within this collection speak to the authors' experiences in various genres and modalities. I have organized the presentation of this collection into the following sections. (1) The Theory lays the foreground of the feminist ideology at play. (2) Poetry showcases emotional power. (3) Non-fiction and Autobiography; the heart and core of the collection. (4) What I call Soft Fiction and The Biomythography; re-imagining the self. This collection tells the lived experiences of those who are, as Maggie Nelson calls them, "my many gendered mothers of the heart." It is a tribute to those who have shown me what feminism can look like for marginalized groups, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.
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    Losing, Finding, and Returning Home: Sense of Belonging
    (2022-03) Nguyen, Uyen
    This collection was ironically built without the intention that it would become a collection. Similar to many other projects I have done, it always begins with a curiosity. The puzzles slowly move into places that allow me a great amount of self-reflection and discovery of my personal values. Most of the books in this collection can be found in our library at Goucher since I didn’t really have the luxury of going to a bookstore during a pandemic. However, the lack of intentionality in this collection makes it difficult to put them in thematic categories. Initially, I decided not to categorize them at all but as I reread some of the works for this reflection, I decided they do belong to three groups - personal (individual), familial (community) and national (nation). What is interesting, for me, is that any book in this collection can move fluidly between those three categories because home is all-encompassing of individual, familial and national identity. Those three themes, with their link to belonging, become the connecting thread for the works in this collection.
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    Dreamers in Harlem: Works Related to Harlem Renaissance Figures
    (2022-03) Howard, Sandra N.
    My interest in the Harlem Renaissance stems from my heritage as a granddaughter and daughter of the Great Migration, my study of anthropology as an undergraduate, and my lifelong love of African American literature and culture. These aspects of my life, and the opportunity afforded by this competition, led me to gather from my extant library of African American literature, a collection of books related to the Harlem Renaissance.
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    My Mother's Books: An Exploration of Heritage through Reading
    (2022-03) Strickland, Emily
    Sometimes it is difficult to love my mother. But I can pick up a book, crack open its stiff spine, smell the pulp in its pages, and loving my mother becomes seamless. My mother grew up in Singapore eating chicken rice after school, picking fruit off trees that drooped onto the sidewalk, and reading English pulp fiction. There were other books too, of course, as long as they allowed her imagination to roam freely.
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    [Collection of Communal Stories]
    (2020-02) Holland, Kelly
    I’ve always had a fondness for communal stories—the stories so old or common that it’s impossible to find any one “original” version, and every person you ask is certain their version is the right one. Listening to a folk tale is the media equivalent of a home cooked meal: even if the technical skill would be better at an expensive restaurant, no restaurant will ever have the personality of someone’s chicken parmesan, “just like Mom used to make”.
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    [Collection of Magic and Mystery]
    (2020-02) David, Rosie
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    You Are Home: Books and Music
    (2020-02) Wilson, Sarah
    Books and music were always present in my childhood, and my family taught me that these are valuable because they make life more beautiful. My father and uncle were always in bands, my mother and grandmother were always reading, and weekends were (and still are) for listening to the radio. I remember moments of my life based on what music I was listening to or what book I was reading. As soon as I could write sentences I was writing stories and songs. It does not surprise me that my love for reading and my love for books have come together in this collection.
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    Indochina to Vietnam: A (re-telling) search for identity through narratives
    (2020-02) Nguyen, Uyen
    From that moment onwards, a question lingers in my mind as I slowly mature: whose narratives are we talking about when we look at History? During the course of my academic studies, this personal question (unbeknownst to me) has become the driving force behind my research papers, my interests and eventually to this collection. These narratives that I have chosen for this collection are often hidden by History (with the capital H) as they represent the untold, unseen and untouched part of a large and abstract concept. I build this collection with the desire that these authors can help me discover the identity of the land that nurtured my childhood and pivoted me into the person I am today.
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    High Fantasy in Ink
    (2019-02) Mahoney-Cloutier, Abigail
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    J.R.R. Tolkien: A Beaten, Battered, and Yellowed Bundle of Pages
    (2019-02) Jenkins, Matthew
    My collection of books by and related to author and Oxford professor, J.R.R. Tolkien began with a beaten, battered, yellowed bundle of pages, that found itself in the unfortunate circumstance of lacking both a front cover, and half the spine.
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    The Kalevala: Retellings and Interpretations of the Ancient Myth
    (2019-02) DeMeo, Ruut
    My collection is of various translations, books about and related to, and retellings of the Finnish National epic poem, The Kalevala.
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    Histories of Baltimore: How did we get here?
    (2017) Gilman-Forlini, Jackson