What We Are Reading Today: Who Gets In And Why by Jeffrey Selingo

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Updated 20 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Who Gets In And Why by Jeffrey Selingo

For anyone interested in how decisions are made about admissions to the top-ranked colleges and universities in the US, Jeffrey Selingo’s Who Gets In And Why is for them. 

“Money talks and privilege walks. In the case of college admissions, it saunters through wrought-iron gates, past signs emblazoned with ‘Welcome Class of’ and into seats at convocation,” Anthony Abraham Jack said in a review for The New York Times. 

Timely and engaging, Who Gets in and Why details “how college admission is rigged in favor of the privileged and how it came to be gamed even further,” said the review. 

“Through revealing interviews with industry leaders and observations of admissions committee deliberations at three schools, Selingo unpacks the myriad ways that colleges’ desperate attempts to climb up in the rankings further open doors to students from more affluent families,” the review added. 

“Universities want to raise their profile, knowing that selectivity is a key measure in rankings. They also want to lock in their full payers early, a desire that may only grow stronger as colleges grapple with budget deficits brought upon by COVID-19,” the review said.


What We Are Reading Today: Walker Evans: Starting from Scratch by Svetlana Alpers

Updated 30 October 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Walker Evans: Starting from Scratch by Svetlana Alpers

Walker Evans (1903–75) was a great American artist photographing people and places in the US in unforgettable ways. He is known for his work for the Farm Security Administration, addressing the Great Depression, but what he actually saw was the diversity of people and the damage of the long Civil War.
In Walker Evans, renowned art historian Svetlana Alpers explores how Evans made his distinctive photographs. Delving into a lavish selection of Evans’s work, Alpers uncovers rich parallels between his creative approach and those of numerous literary and cultural figures, locating Evans within the wide context of a truly international circle.
Alpers demonstrates that Evans’s practice relied on his camera choices and willingness to edit multiple versions of a shot, as well as his keen eye and his distant straight-on view of visual objects. Illustrating the vital role of Evans’s dual love of text and images, Alpers places his writings in conversation with his photographs. She brings his techniques into dialogue with the work of a global cast of important artists—from Flaubert and Baudelaire to Elizabeth Bishop and William Faulkner—underscoring how Evans’s travels abroad in such places as France and Cuba.