When students come to my office, they often scan my bookshelves while I read through their drafts. I wonder what impression they’re forming from the titles they read? What words repeat? Gender. Feminist. Rhetoric. Language. Teaching. Composition. Body and Bodies. Students in my “Advanced Expository Writing for Prospective Teachers” classes would recognize the books on Students’ Right to Their Own Language and linguistic equality. Those who took my “Maverick Rhetorics” graduate seminar years ago would be unsurprised by all of the books on embodiment and would likely be happy to know I’m finally starting work on fat rhetorics. “Fiction into Film” students would likely spot Watchmen and the books on film and adaptation. And, of course, there’s a little literature: Steinbeck, Alexie, Kingsolver, Annie Dillard’s essays. But if you took each of them down, turned them over in your hands, I think you’d find Mike Rose’s Lives on the Boundary the most worn, most read, most loved. “Error marks the place where education begins,” he told me, and changed my teaching life. Good books can do that.
– Abby Knoblauch, Associate Professor, 16 November 2017