In my extended family, we are required to have Christmas lists on hand at Thanksgiving.
Sure, we like to give gifts that are surprises to the receiver and are well-planned, but to be frank, some guidance is often much appreciated. We keep track of those things that we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves, but might really love to have in our lives.
If I didn’t already get to see and (literally) live with it all the time because of my job, I would totally be asking for the Oberlin book this year, and I’ll tell you why.
- First off, it’s Oberlin. Even my family, who didn’t exactly dream of me running off to a liberal arts college in Ohio, get that I am obsessed with my alma mater. Anything Oberlin is going to go over well with me.
- But it’s not just any Oberlin accessory—it’s really true to what Oberlin is and has been. The Oberlin Book’s got history! It’s got protesting! It’s got adventure and studying and food and co-ops and messiness! It’s got the emotional rush of finals and nights at the ’Sco!
- It’s downright gorgeous. I’m a total sucker for beautiful art. This one’s got breathtaking photos, essays that are thought-provoking and evocative, and design that has made me actually laugh out loud at its color and playfulness. Triple-whammy to my beautiful-art-loving soul.
- I recognize my Oberlin in it. Sure, many of the photos were taken during my time at Oberlin. But there are also quotes from professors that have taught for decades (Professors Norm Craig and Carol Lasser, for instance,) and photos of students shuffling through slush, and the weird fact that Oberlin students seem to have been wearing all the same clothes since the late 60s. Alumni friends of mine from the classes of 1960, 1974, 1986, and 2001 have found their Oberlin to be just as represented in the Oberlin Book.
- I love a well-made book. Really, I almost go to far with loving well-made books. I worked for 4 years in a hand book bindery. When I buy books in a store, I check over the spines’ construction. Not only is the spine on this one great (sewn signatures!), but it’s hard-bound in a great cloth, the box is hand-built, and the vellum pages are added in by hand. Oh, hadn’t heard of the vellum pages? They feature quotes and are translucent. Check out what they look like below.
- The Oberlin Book is going to last. Like I just said, the construction is great. But beyond that, this book is impressively timeless. It was created to emphasize how eternal Oberlin is, and the nature of that is that the content will not be dated in 10 years. Or maybe even 25 or 50 years from now. The photographs and essays are complex and stand up to re-examination. They actually benefit from it, and you get new things out of them with time. I’d know: I’ve been looking at this book constantly for months, and I still notice genuinely fascinating things with every time I look through it
Socks are always a great gift. I got dozens and dozens of pairs to layer for warmth my first holiday season in Oberlin. But just maybe you’d like something that will last way longer and give even more warm and fuzzy feelings. Consider buying the Oberlin book for someone who loves Oberlin. Or consider suggesting it to those who love you as a gift idea. (Facebook? Twitter? Email? A hand-written list under your loved-one’s pillow, perhaps?) Just tell them to look over oberlinbook.com.
Brandi Ferrebee supports communications, college relations, and publishing at College Green. A graduate of Oberlin College, she holds a BA in English.