As anyone who's a regular reader of my Friday Fun series will know, I'm a huge fan of The Cronk, that paragon of higher ed satire. In fact, you could call me the grand high poobah of Cronk fandom with the Cronk as the Sultan of Satire!
I love the Cronk, you love the Cronk, we all love the Cronk. And now we all have a chance to put our money where our mouths are and kick a little cash towards the hard working gang that entertain and amuse us so regularly. They fine folk who produce the Cronk have published a print book collection of selected articles from their site.
Of course, all those articles appearing in Required Reading have already seen the light of day online so you could just read them for free at the Cronk site, but there's something really great about collecting the best of their first year all in one place. You get a feel for the kind of work they do, their favourite targets and especially you get a few good laughs.
Overall, the quality of the articles is pretty even, consistently hitting the right satirical note -- not too vicious but still squirm-worthy enough to strike a chord for everyone toiling in the fields of higher education. The hypocrisy, the self-importance, the arrogance and cluelessness. And none of the main constituencies of higher ed are left out: students, administrators, faculty, they're all skewered equally. That being said, it's probably best to take the book in small doses as it'll have greater impact that way.
Some of my favourite articles, or at least the best titles:
- College Art Exhibit Celebrates 30 Years of Boredom in Academia
- Secretary's Day Gives Administrators Awesome Opportunity to Give Flowers to People they Marginalize
- New First Year Experience Class: How not to be an Asshole
- Faculty Development Seminar Promotes More Heartfelt Ways to Feign Caring
- Undergraduate Fold Musician Mistakes Getting Laid for Having Talent
You get the idea.
Anyways, who would I recommend this book for? While probably not suitable for any actual academic library collections, it would probably make a great "getting the heck out of academia present" for anyone making that kind of career shift. And best of all, a great birthday or holiday gift for any loved one imprisoned in academia.
Wescott, Leah; Brody Truce and Irma Pelt, eds. Required Reading: The Very Best of CronkNews.com. Loose Lips Press, 2011. 79pp. ISBN-13: 978-0976873167.
(Disclosure: The Cronk supplied my review copy. I was also asked to provide a back cover blurb which I very happily supplied.)