Fellows Dinner and the Riveting Maureen Corrigan

This past Thursday, October 15th, the University of Tulsa Department of Special Collections and University Archives and McFarlin Fellows hosted a reception and dinner with a special appearance by book critic Maureen Corrigan. The evening began with a cocktail reception in the Ann and Jack Graves Faculty Study, followed by dinner in the Pat and Arnold Brown Reading Room.

After dinner, Corrigan challenged her audience on the assumptions about “Books that Changed the World.” Known for her important work as a book critic on NPR’s Fresh Air and a well-loved lecturer at Georgetown, she refreshingly presented the idea that books that become known are not always the best literature.

Corrigan offered unexpected examples of books that changed the world and best-sellers that have not changed the world. She mentioned the classics Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and The Great Gatsby as books that top the “changed the world” charts, but noted that only Huckleberry Finn sold well. One world changing book mention which elicited a knowing chuckle from the audience was Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare. On the other hand, She, Who Ate My Cheese, and The Mark of Zorro  were best-sellers that nearly all would agree have not been world changers.

In essence, Corrigan challenged the often assumed precept that best-sellers are based on their literary quality. Her presentation was greeted with enthusiastic response and interesting questions about her talk and line of work. Corrigan’s address was the perfect end to a wonderful evening with the Fellows.

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