On Friday, February 28, at 4:30, students and faculty gathered in the dining room to begin the 8th annual overnight reading. This year, we read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man—his great American novel about a black man who says of himself, “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” Our students read throughout the afternoon, night, and morning with clear and powerful voices as we followed the deep, moving, and at times surrealistic journey of the unnamed protagonist. Discussions sprang up outside the reading room regarding references in the novel to Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground and Homer’s Odyssey. Reading slots were in high demand as students discovered the thrill of reading a work like this out loud to an audience. And one intrepid student read along from beginning to end without taking a single break—quite a feat.
A special thanks goes out to Amra Tomlinson and his staff for providing a New Orleans feast that perfectly complemented the novel’s ties to the jazz scene. Everyone at the reading found both intellectual and physical nourishment!