Students determine the greatest book

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams was dubbed the greatest book of all time at a Great Books student-run debate on March 29.

First-year St. Thomas University student Chandler Gard, arguing for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, battled third-year student Wasiimah Joomun, who fought for Les Belles Images, in the final round of debating.

Gard only read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy all the way through a few weeks ago. 

“It really resonated with me because of its unique text … It’s not just a good book, it’s a good read. I enjoyed every single page,” he said

St. Thomas University student Chandler Gard came in first after he argued The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the greatest book of all time. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

Elizabeth Tuck, a third-year Great Books student, organized the event with help from her fellow GRID Society members.

“We read so many great books in this program. But my question was, what is the greatest book?” Tuck asked.

The debate-style event was complete with opening statements, rebuttals and concluding statements.

Nine students entered the debate. Seven were Great Books students.

Gard’s argument that his book enables readers to become self-aware and ask important questions came out on top.

Wasiimah Joomun came in second place. she argued Les Belles Images. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

Gard said a great book not only present ideas, but allows readers to find their own truth and ideas. He argued The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy falls into that category.

Other books in the competition were Phaedrus, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Crime and Punishment, The Iliad, The Little Prince, The Tower of the Swallow and The Interestings.

The two non-GRID students were Joomun and Manuel Garcia. Garcia fought for The Little Prince.

Garcia said he struggles with reading, but The Little Prince was easy for him to read. He said if a book can impact someone who struggles with reading, it must be a good book.

Garcia has read the book in French, English and Spanish.

Manuel Garcia said if a book can impact someone who struggles with reading, like himself, it must be a good book. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

“If you read this [The Little Prince] as an adult, it actually makes you think of what humans actually value and what we find truly essential,” said Garcia.

Garcia made it to the second round of four. He was eliminated by Colin Gillis’ argument for Crime and Punishment. 

Gard said all the books that were presented are great books.

“Fundamentally, what makes a great book great is not debate, it’s the individual.”

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