I love students' honesty. Jabari commented as soon as we opened up the conversation that while he had originally had no intention of reading the book ("I was just going to read a summary",) he got engrossed and actually read it. There were lots of nodding heads. Aside from the whole, "I have no shame about telling you that I consider the syllabus purely as a set of vague recommendations," I considered it a win. Fun Home had them hooked.
And then there's the motley band of students. Of course, the debate began immediately with whether or not the dad had committed suicide. One student had spent eight years working in a funeral home and was adamant that a professional in the business would never choose a death as "messy" as getting run over by a truck. "He never would have done that. Plus he was all about aesthetics and that is seriously not an aesthetically-pleasing way to go."