Nerd of the Month for October

Great Books Stanford and Oxford alum Alexis Gordon shares her current reading list, school projects and her favorite word (subject to change).

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Name: Alexis Gordon

What I am doing right now: I am currently in my junior year at Flintridge Preparatory School, which pretty much summarizes my life as of right now.

Relationship to Great Books: This last summer was my second year at GB 🙂

My favorite book: Weetzie Bat by Francesca lia Block (I’m going to cheat and do honorable mentions because choosing a favorite book is next to impossible: East of Eden by John Steinbeck and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.)

Favorite word: I had to really think about this one, but I think my favorite word is avalanche (?). Still up for grabs.

I am currently reading (and by that I mean glancing at occasionally when I don’t have soccer/school/community service):

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories edited by the inimitable Tobias Wolff (as recommended to me by the lost bookstore folks)

Nature and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Skulls: A Travelogue by Dia Felix (I’m not sure if this is even available everywhere seeing as it is legitimately just folded and stapled paper with no binding, but it’s some of the best poetry I’ve ever read!)

Projects I’m currently working on:

I am starting a Women’s Activism Club at my school with a friend– a huge project but I am beyond excited for obvious reasons!

I am also in the process of writing a show (it’s a mixture of poetry and dance) which has been a really lovely/emotional/nerve wracking/amazing experience and I can’t wait to finish it!

Choose an author to write your life: It would definitely be the aforementioned Francesca lia Block (because of her indomitable whimsy and beautiful strangeness).

How have certain books or authors changed your perspective or behavior?

Authors and books have changed my perspective in that they have made me realize that what we are often taught to be true usually isn’t, and what we are taught to typically be untrue rarely is.

Why did you decide to go to Oxford for your first summer with Great Books? How did that lead you to the program at Stanford? 

I chose Oxford because I love going out of the country and I had never been to England. I also really wanted to get a glimpse of what going to college in a different country might be like and check out Oxford a bit. The Stanford program drew me because this past summer I actually wanted to stay closer to home and, as with Oxford, I was very interested to get a feel for the campus and see the college in general. My dad went to Stanford and it certainly is one of my dream schools! One of the real pros of the Oxford program is the amazing dynamic– there is a real closeness to being with only 40 or so others in a different country and getting to explore both England and literary concepts, and the fact that we were all seniors only helped to tighten the bond, but the diversity at Stanford was a major plus as well, so I have no idea which one I would call my favorite!

Nerd of the Month is a blog series that spotlights the bright and fascinating students and staff of the Great Books Summer Program, a literature program for readers and thinkers at Stanford University, Amherst College and the University of Oxford. Read more

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