I’ve solved my dilemma from last week, mostly due to a deadline. Book orders were due last Friday, and I’ve decided to go with Into the Wild. The parallels between the researched, journalistic approach Krakauer takes is simply too similar to the explanatory synthesis the students will be writing earlier in the semester to pass up. I think it would be good to show them a good example of the kind of writing they do in class; so much for the “When are we ever going to need to know how to do this?” argument. Plus, I believe time watching the film in class will be time well-spent, and the book is, simply, a good read. Krakauer uses solid prose to inform the reader, letting the McCandless story’s themes shine through at all times.
I stopped by the book store the other day, fully intending to pick up a new copy of the book featuring the film poster on the cover. However, I arrived to find that version side-by-side with the version I have. Paging through a copy of each, the pages are identical so I don’t need a new book, myself. That saves me $10 and it’s a helpful time saver, considering how much annotating I’ve done in my copy! It’s also helpful for students – they can pick up a copy of either cover, and the chances of finding it on-the-cheap used have officially gone up.
The class will likely read and analyze the book in mid-March, if you care to read it on your own and discuss it here, dear reader.