By Daniella Snyder
I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Memorial Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!
Hey, Wildcats, if your quarantine time looks anything like mine, you’ve had some free time on your hands. Why don’t you use that free time to get ahead? Crack open Villanova’s 2020-2021 One Book: Educated by Tara Westover.
Westover will speak to the University community on Sept. 24, 2020, as part of the One Book lecture during the St. Thomas of Villanova celebration. If you can’t get your hands on a copy (you can rent the e-book in Falvey’s catalog), consider this week’s blog post as your introductory guide to this year’s campus-wide read.
Seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, Westover was born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho and prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer, she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter, she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
Her father forbade hospitals, so Westover never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when Westover’s older brother became violent.
Then, lacking a formal education, Westover began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement.
Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. She pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She received an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2009 and in 2014 was awarded a PhD in history. Currently, she is a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center, working on projects related to media and political polarization. Educated is her first book (tarawestover.com).
Aside from being selected as Villanova’s One Book for the 2020–2021 academic year, Educated was named the Nonfiction Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association, the winner of the 2018 Goodreads Choice Award for Memoir, a double-finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, and one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2018, among many other accolades and awards.
Daniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in the communication and marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the English department. This week, she’s reading The Best American Food Writing 2019.
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