Summer Reading Letter
Dear First-Year Student,
Welcome to Siena College and to the First Year Seminar. The Seminar is a two semester, writing intensive course required of all first-year students. The overall goal of the Seminar is to prepare you for the intellectual life of college: how to read critically, how to engage with a text, how to articulate an informed position on big questions, how to write clearly and persuasively, how to voice an opinion in a classroom conversation, how to make connections between and among the readings you are doing, the subjects you are studying, as well as between Siena and the outside world. In addition, the Seminar will introduce you to the Franciscan heritage that is unique to Siena.
You will remain with the same faculty member and classmates for both semesters. In all sections, the themes for the year are those of our Core curriculum. For the first semester, they are: Heritage and the Natural World; for the second semester, the themes are: Diversity and Social Justice. Within each theme, there are a few interdisciplinary readings common to all sections of the course. Individual faculty choose the remaining readings and an overall theme to bring coherence to their sections. The lives and stories of St. Francis and St. Clare are interwoven throughout the year.
In addition, a required summer reading offers incoming first-year students a common intellectual experience. This year we have chosen Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. Please purchase the paperback version published in 2013 by Penguin Books.
Requirements for the summer assignment:
· Read the book slowly and thoroughly.
· Be ready to speak about the book when you come to class. Study it, mark or highlight what you think are important passages from the text and write down reactions, questions, reflections that you may have.
· During the first week of class, there will be a written assignment and/or quiz about the book.
In addition, all sections of the Seminar require that you purchase these two books:
Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Pocket Style Manual, Sixth Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s: 2012.
Graff, Gerald and and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say, Third Edition. W.W. Norton and Co., 2014.
You will be using these books for both semesters, as well as the rest of your time at Siena, so purchasing them is much less expensive than renting them.
The First Year Seminar Faculty
Discussion Questions for How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid.
1.What is your initial reaction to the book? Which passages stood out for you and why?
2. The book is written in the second person, that is, the main character is referred to as “you.” What is the effect of this on you as a reader? Why do you think the author does this?
3. Our main character goes through many changes throughout the book. Making references to the text, explain where he starts out, what changes he goes through and where he ends up. What do you think of this journey he makes?
4. “The pretty girl” plays an important role in our main character’s life. How would you describe her? How would you describe his relationship with her? What do you think of her?
5. As you read, were there recurring themes or patterns that you noticed? Name one of them. Why do you think it’s there and what do you think it means?
6. What connections can you make between the book and the theme of the FYS section that you have chosen? Find specific references in the text to support your connections.
7. Why did we ask you to read this book? Why now?