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jesus there were so many

You should read more this summer than 8 different copies of The Iliad

It’s the end of your first year, and memories from the first day of LitHum begin to haunt you. How were you so behind on reading? One by one, your classmates entered the room and began discussing the many works of fiction and non-fiction that they had read over the summer. You couldn’t believe the names that were coming out of their mouths; they just grew more and more formidable! We’ve all been there, feeling like we’re not educated enough to compete with everyone else. For all of you soon-to-be Proust-loving, Camus-reading, and Faulkner-worshipping scholars, look no further because we here at Bwog are offering a solution: the Pretentious Summer Reading List. Put on your spectacles, don your smoking jacket, and ready your pipe, because you have a tremendous amount of catching up to do.   

Here are some poems, they should be read carefully, this haiku is done:

  • Walt Witman’s Leaves of Grass
  • Maya Angelou’s (what?! A woman?!) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Allen Ginsberg’s Howl
  • Ulysses (because you don’t belong here if you haven’t read this at least 5 times)
  • Haikus by Issa, Shiki, and Buson

You Kant forget philosophy:

  • Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophus (bonus points for reading this in latin!)
  • Foucault’s The Order of Things
  • Rand’s Atlas Shrugged for utter rapture
  • Plato’s The Republic
  • More’s Utopia

(Only for Barnard) (This is the feminist section): 

  • Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble
  • Plath’s The Bell Jar (but let’s face it, this is the #holybookofbarnard)
  • Woolf’s To The Lighthouse
  • Woolf’s Lady in the Looking Glass
  • Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

Next up, novels that Kanye has definitely not read…



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img December 12, 20151:06 pmimg 1 Comments


So peaceful, so profound, such a wonderful way to distract from studying

Finals, finals, finals, finals, finals. No one will shut up about finals. But YOU can change that! Get out of your room and go do something cultured! The next time someone tries to make small talk with you about finals, you can start shouting, “OH LOOK BWOG POSTED ABOUT ALL OF THESE FUN ARTS THINGS.” Better yet, you could attend one of these events and talk about artistic choice whenever someone complains about their workload. 

Today (Saturday, December 12):

Monday, December 14:


*Bingo is technically sold out, but you can put your name on the waiting list if you arrive early. 



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img September 14, 20132:22 pmimg 2 Comments


“Our bookshelf is unlimited”

Lucy Sun, CC ’11, majored in economics and consults for Cognizant Technology Solutions. Lucy Sun is also “book therapist,” something she made up.

Said Sun in an email to Gawker, “Think of ‘book therapy’ as a mash-up between traditional therapy and the wise souls at your local bookstore.” Sun will choose a book with you, read it with you, and talk about it with you (for $30 per hour).

Admittedly untaught in either books or therapy, Sun does note that “the Core Curriculum is notoriously lit-heavy.” Asked by Bwog how much of the reading she actually did, Sun replied, “I did all the Core reading. I went to Columbia for the Core, and I loved the Core.” She added in a subsequent email: “Like, I took fewer classes all throughout college so that I could do my Core reading, is how much I loved it.”

Sun told Bwog that she’s gotten two client inquiries since she put the fliers up two weeks ago: “Mostly, it’s just people talking about the idea of book therapy itself, or the gall I have to propose the idea.”

If you’re interested, “Book therapy sessions take place over coffee or tea in Prospect Heights.”

Ad via Gawker



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img October 23, 201010:30 amimg 1 Comments

Books have been deemed unnecessary. (Telegraph)

Professor Joseph Stiglitz talks about money and stuff. (Daily Finance)

Breaking: Letting children play with smart phones is bad for their development. (Today’s THV)

Floridita shall live on. (Spec)

Midterms may be stressful, but don’t start bashing cars. (Gothamist)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons



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Back in tha dayThe Brooklyn Book Festival is taking place today until 6 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall.  All events-panels, forums, booths- are free to attend! Famous people, like Venus Williams and Sarah Silverman, will be there, along with Columbia’s own Professor Gary Shteyngart and Librarian Karen Green. Get your intellect on!

Photo via Wikimedia Commons



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img January 14, 20101:52 pmimg 6 Comments

What does our fearless leader do when he’s not, um, doing whatever he does everyday? He watches Dean Quigley buy soup and he appears on public television. Last night, Bwog stayed up past our bedtime to catch PrezBo on Charlie Rose.

Bollinger and the nearly equally dapper Mr. Rose spent most of El Presidente’s half hour cameo talking about PrezBo’s new book, Uninhibited, Robust and Wide-Open (sexy!), about the role and future of the free press. Bollinger expressed his concern about the “contraction of coverage of foreign news” that the economic crisis has wrought on the American press. He also agreed with Rose that the “blogosphere is not a sufficient substitute” for the major journalistic institutions in the U.S, though PrezBo praised the influx of voice and opinion that teh Internetz allows.

The conversation then veered into more Columbia-specific territory: the endowment and Manhattanville. PrezBo spoke to the Columbia tradition of “academic freedom and the pursuit of curiosity,” and went on to talk about how we actually need money to allow that to continue. On Columbia’s endowment: “we proudly say that we lost only 16%, which was actually terrific in the context…” Now, what could PrezBo be referring to when he said: “one of the things we know about our great universities is that they have to grow.” Ohh, right, that! Bollinger briefly laid out the plan for Manhattanville, spoke about the “years of working with the community” that CU has done and referred to eminent domain as the “one remaining issue.”




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img October 03, 20099:34 amimg 14 Comments

A double dose of book news today: first, Senior Tome Correspondent Jon Hill notes that Book Culture looks to have finalized its expansion into the space formerly occupied by Morningside Books. The window sign does not give an expected opening date, but it does suggest that the new location will focus on more popular books, with the 112th street location “dedicated to providing academic and scholarly books.” Seriously, though, a Chick-Fil-A would have been nice.

If you can’t wait for the expansion, or prefer good deals, the local New York Public Library branch on the corner of 113th and Broadway is having a book sale today until 4. Hardcover and paperback titles alike are going for $1, DVDs are $2, and an archaic technology called “VHS tapes” are $1. You’ll encounter such classics as Women Are Not Small Men, What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7?, and On The Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God. There are some legitimate finds here too, if you have the patience to look. And really, for a dollar, who can turn that kind of thing down?

New photos after the jump. (more…)



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img September 11, 20093:29 pmimg 6 Comments

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
fashion week

NY Craft Beer Week

9/11 through 9/20, various locations 

If you’re getting tired of Pabst, take your pick from over 80 bars and sample some of the finest micro and homebrews the city has to offer.

Price: passport costs $35, but with it you can try each beer for just a few dollars

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 

9/10 through 9/17, Bryant Park (Sixth Ave between 40th and W. 42nd Sts)

We know: those of you lucky enough to get on a guest list are already going.  For the rest of you, head to Bryant Park to oogle the beautiful people and get a glimpse of a world you didn’t think actually exists.

 Price: Free 


Naughty By Nature Live

Friday 11 pm – 4 am, Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St)

New Jersey’s supergroup does The Freedom Party, New York’s longest running, weekly Friday night dance party.  Party like it’s Jersey City without actually having to leave Manhattan.

Price: $20 (more…)



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img March 05, 20097:14 amimg 8 Comments

 -Photo via

Resident Columbia film star James Franco has reportedly signed a book deal to publish a collection of short stories. The newly minted bard, who already carries some weight in the publishing world, is also set to act in a film about ex-Columbia literary luminary Allen Ginsberg.

The writerly impulse apparently runs in the family since Franco’s mom is an author too, and he has read some of her audio books. No word yet if this literary turn will bring Franco to Wien.       



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img January 27, 20094:09 pmimg 9 Comments

In case you don’t haunt the Times’ website

like Bwog does, a quick (sad) note.

   John Updike, American author (and frequent New Yorker contributor), died today at 76.  In light of this tragedy, Bwog provides an original, Smugopedia-style talking point:  “while some consider Updike’s everyday subjects unworthy of his characteristically intricate prose, his novels–the most famous of which are four centering on unremarkable protagonist Henry “Rabbit” Angstrom–and numerous short stories and poems reveal a remarkably delicate and catholic eye for beauty.” 

Not to mention that Updike, who presided over the Harvard Lampoon as a college student, was very, very funny.  Check out the essay Packed Dirt, Churchgoing, A Dying Cat, A Traded Car for its singular blend of humor and glumness.



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img December 06, 200811:08 amimg 4 Comments

Come holiday season, there’s a lot of hubbub about joy and all that jazz.  But here at Columbia the first two weeks of December are decidedly unjoyous times.  With visions of forthcoming finals dancing in our heads, at this point in the year, many of us have had it with academia. 

But today, Bwog brings you a reason to be thankful for the very scholarly stuff that has gotten you down lately.  Today, December 6th, 2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the court ruling that James Joyce’s Ulysses is not obscene.  And who was responsible for this admirable endorsement of the First Amendment and freedom of press? Why none other than Judge John M. Woolsey of Columbia Law School class of 1900.  Leave it to one of our own to champion the liberation, legality and love of literature — well done, Woolsey!

So as you slog through your annotated Ulysses tome today in Butler (Bwog’s completely dreading Kitcher‘s final too), remember and relish the liberation of this fine text!   



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img October 05, 20088:51 amimg 18 Comments

If you’re trying to study in Butler right now, you probably already know that there’s a giant children’s reading party going on out on the lawns–it’s part of the Times-sponsored Great Children’s Read, and a zillion tiny people have turned out to ensnare you on your way to midterms purgatory.

If you’re able to escape, They Might Be Giants are going on at 3:10 PM. And meanwhile, there’s a certain amount of schwag to be had, including those delicious little greek yogurts.

Update, 2:15pm: The view from a Butler denizen: 


Adorable photos of frolicking children the jump.




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img September 13, 200810:06 amimg 4 Comments

Has your weekend been lacking a certain cultural, athletic or alcoholic satisfaction? If so, check out Bwog’s mid-weekend guide to the weekend update.


Danscores by Ofelia Loret De Mola

Shakespeare’s Ophelia was not much of a badass. Rather than sticking it to the man, she let the man stick it to her. Not so with this Mexican-born Ofelia. In the final performance of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s “Sitelines” series, this choreographer expresses her rebellious anti-establishment opinions in performances that challenge the conventions of modern dance. Expect dancing in the street and lots of Mexican punk music.

City Park Hall; September 13-14 at 8; Free


Major Cultures, Global Core, there may be very little distinction between the two, but one thing we do know is that Columbia loves the Western Canon. The university’s love fest with Greek tragedy continues with the Miller Theater’s performance of Iannis Xenakis opera, Oresteia, based on Aeschylus’ tragedy.

Miller Theater; September 13, 16 and 17 at 8



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img June 21, 20087:39 amimg 6 Comments

During the onslaught of the academic year, many students forgo newly released books for required reading or problem sets, making summer the perfect time to catch up on leisure reading. In a menial attempt to recapture the spirit of the literary salons during the 17th and 18th century, Bwog is introducing a book club for the summer. Though the internet pales in comparison with actual conversation, we are hoping to create an open space to foster thought and discussion.

All Bwog readers are welcome to participate. There will be a post in advance announcing the next selection. Generally, the works will be either contemporary fiction or nonfiction. The actual Book Club will take form as a dialogue between our two reviewers, Lucy Tang and Pierce Stanley, and the comments thread will allow readers to contribute to with questions or criticism or even a book suggestion. Because the book club is still in its nascence, nothing is concrete, and the more feedback, the better.

We have chosen The Mayor’s Tongue to inaugurate this summer. The Mayor’s Tongue is the debut from Nathaniel Rich, an editor at The Paris Review. There’s been a lot of hubbub surrounding The Mayor’s Tongue, because Rich hails from a literary lineage–his father is Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist, and brother Simon Rich is a well-established humor writer–and The Mayor’s Tongue will determine if the legacy lives on. The book offers two narratives, related but never intertwined. The first sees Eugene Brentani, a young man obsessed with renowned author Constance Eakins, running off to Italy for the daughter of Eakins’ biographer. The second narrative features Mr. Schmitz, a much older man, who loses his wife and struggles to maintain normalcy with his best friend Rutherford.

Take some time this weekend to open up The Mayor’s Tongue and join us in a few days for our discussion. It’s a fast read, we promise.

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img October 17, 20076:30 pmimg 26 Comments

Though most of us are bogged down with midterms and papers, Bwog writer Hannah Goldfield provides some alternative reading.

Ducking your head and barreling through the cloud of cigarette smoke outside Butler might be worth it tonight. Act fast and you can snag a copy of poli-lit-culture journal n+1’s latest pamphlet, distributed, guerrilla-style, throughout the library a few hours ago.

Titled “What We Should Have Known,” the unassuming, slim, blue volume is targeted at college freshmen, meant to help them traverse the intellectual spiderweb in which they’re bound to get caught over the next four years. It consists specifically of transcripts of two panel discussions (which took place this past summer at the n+1 headquarters) about books, mostly: the books you’re assigned to read and the books the panel members, a mix of n+1 editors and contributors, think you should read, on your own, sooner rather than later. If you get lost in the sea of titles, don’t fret–the ones that truly changed their lives are conveniently compiled into lists on the last few pages.

After tonight, “What We Should Have Known” will set you back $10–unless you’re a freshman, in which case you might find a copy slipped under your door tomorrow, or, if not, your student ID will get you one for free. Because saving untainted souls from the Western Canon–or at least guiding them through it–is priceless.

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