The Thrill’s Guide to Reading Days

Hey first years (and any other Reading-Days N00bs)! Are you staying on campus for what the administration has decided to call “October Break”?  You’re about to have the greatest four days of your college career.  Here’s our guide to how to make the most of your Reading Days.

Courtesy of Katie Rumizen '14, Reading Days on the Kokosing 2010

The Basics:
Number of students on campus: Approximately 500
Only day parties can be registered: Saturday
Days parties will happen: Every single one, maybe even Sunday
Amount of work you will get done: Less than you expect (a professor reportedly once called them “Fall Behind Days”)

So this reading days you could…

…do something on or near campus.

  • Apple picking –
  • Go to a fair – While fair season is basically over, there is an independent street fair in Loudonville that runs until October 8. Prize fruits and vegetables will be available for purchase on Saturday, which could help you with that dinner party your planning (see below).
  • Go for a bike ride – We often forget the Kokosing Gap Trail runs right by campus, but it’s beautiful this time of year – what with the fall foliage and the like.
  • Go for a swim in the Kokosing! It’s going be glorious outside!
  • Stargaze – For those of us who are city slickers, it’s rare to be somewhere as devoid of light pollution (THE THRILL’S LEAST FAVORITE KIND OF POLLUTION!) as Gambier is. So take advantage of those nights skies and head down to the BFEC of up to the Miller Observatory and get your sky-staring on.

-David McCabe

…take a day trip to…

…Columbus

Start the day strolling around the city’s picturesque, brick-paved German Village neighborhood, and pop into The Book Loft, which features a full 32 rooms chock full of every kind of book (yes, there is gay erotica! So Kenyon!). 631 South Third Street, Columbus, 43206. Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m. every day. Next, learn about your adopted home state’s government by taking an Ohio Statehouse tour!  Statehouse is at 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, 43215, and if you see a building surrounded by protesters, that’s probably it.

There is always Easton Town Center, or Disney World for adults. Or, visit the Short North Arts District (“Expressive. Edgy. Classic. Utterly Unique,” says shortnorth.org). Everything in the galleries is probably too nice/too expensive for your dorm room, but there are some good restaurants.  We’d recommend Nida’s Thai on High in the Short North, with a trip to Jeni’s for dessert.

– David Hoyt

…Cleveland

You may know it as the “mistake on the lake,” but the real mistake would be not visiting Cleveland sometime during your four years at Kenyon.  Sure, It’s become known for its struggling economy and that time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire (come on people, that was like thirty years ago!), but Cleveland has a lot to offer.  It’s only an hour farther away than Columbus and certainly worth the cost of the extra gas.  Reading days provides the perfect opportunity for you to branch out from your usual Columbus/Easton day trips and explore this glistening metropolis to our north.

For many tourists, Cleveland’s list of attractions begins and ends with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  While the admission is pretty steep ($22), it’s definitely worth visiting at least once,  if only to realize how small all of your favorite rock stars must have been to fit into those outfits.   For an experience that is a little more quintessentially Cleveland, head over to The West Side Market.  I once told my parents never to take me there ever again, but I was five years old and had probably just walked through the back alley where they throw the rotting vegetables.  Traumatic memories aside, the market has a huge variety of stands carrying everything from fresh produce to fully prepared meals.  For more local flavor, check out Coventry, a neighborhood in Cleveland Heights full of locally-owned shops and restaurants.  As liberal arts students, I know that none of you would feel fulfilled without a stop at one of Cleveland’s many museums.   Luckily, nearly all of these cultural institutions are located in an area known as University Circle.  Although we also have a natural history museum and botanical gardens nearby, the real cultural gem is the The Cleveland Museum of Art.  I’m pretty sure it’s, like, a really big deal.  At least someone in Harriet the Spy thought it was.  The museum is undergoing massive expansions and will not fully reopen until 2012.  However, many of the museum’s galleries are still open, including an incredible contemporary collection and the ever-popular armor gallery.  The best part of the museum?  Admission is free.

If all this sightseeing has you working up an appetite, don’t worry.  Cleveland’s got your back.  Little Italy is just a short walk down Mayfield Road from University Circle.  You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction when you pass under a bridge that is home to a perpetual mud puddle and emerge surrounded by murals.  If you’re driving, Trattoria Roman Gardens is a good choice because it has a parking lot.  Otherwise, you really can’t go wrong wandering into whichever restaurant seems most appealing.  Wherever you end up eating, be sure to grab some cannoli at Presti’s Bakery for dessert.  If Italian food isn’t your thing, try Melt Bar and Grilled.  With locations on both the East and West Sides, this restaurant’s gourmet grilled cheese creations are a godsend for those of us struggling to adjust to the new papers at the Panini press at Peirce.

So, like, go to Columbus if you really want to.  It’s fine.  But never forget, New York may be the big apple (and Columbus may be the state capital), but Cleveland’s a plum.

– Paul Hoehn

…go to see a movie.

That one with George Clooney and the hot guy, with the politics and the hotness – that looks good.  (What’s that, Ides of March isn’t playing in Mount Vernon? Damn this cultural wasteland! Just add it to the Columbus itinerary, above.)

At Mt. Vernon’s Premier Theater:

  • Courageous
  • Dream House
  • What’s Your Number
  • Abduction
  • Moneyball
  • Lion King in 3D!

…read a book for pleasure.

  • P. F. Kluge’s Alma Mater – A great way to learn about Kenyon history from Gambier’s living legend.
  • Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding – Set on a campus not unlike Kenyon’s at a fictional Wisconsin college, this book follows the story of Henry Skrimshander, a shortstop with inhuman ability and the fallout from one blown play in a crucial game.
  • Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant – Technically, this a collection of previously published work, but if you’re unfamiliar with Beaton’s hilarious web-comic, you owe yourself to read it.
  • Penn Jillette’s God No! – The sometimes-magician, sometimes commentator writes about his atheism in book that seems both funny and gimmicky. Perfect break material.
  • Ken Jenning’s Maphead – You know him for being that guy who won crazy-big at Jeopardy, but now the quiz-show savant has turned his attention elsewhere: geography.  In his new book, he provides the reader with a humorous inside-view of the world of map nerds. Perfect for reading in a place most people coundn’t find on a map.  
  • Don’t over think it: Harry Potter – Books 1 through 7 still really good

…have a dinner party.

If you don’t happen to live in one of those new Mansions (or one of the less glamorous apartments on campus) with your own private kitchen, K College actually has numerous decent kitchens to create a lovely dinner for you and your friends.

Watson
Caples
McBride and Mather
You can rent out Crozier by email
Steal borrow items from Peirce and improvise!

The Menu:

Starter Salad: Gorgonzola Crostini with Pear Salad

Main Course: Spinach Cheesy Pasta Casserole

Dessert: French Crepes

    I know crepes have a reputation of being difficult to make, but they’re really easy.

    Trick: Use a small spatula and frying pan

    Add Nutella, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Powdered Sugar  … Go crazy!

-Leslie Martin

From all of us at The Thrill have a great October Break Reading Days, whether you’re on the hill or off!

5 responses

  1. Pingback: 10 o’clock List: Top 5 Reading Days Questions « The Thrill

  2. Pingback: Uphill/Downhill: Pesto Chicken and Syllabi | The Thrill

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