Amherst College DeMott Summer Reading

Min Jin Lee’s book Pachinko

We are pleased to announce that Pachinko by Min Jin Lee has been chosen as the 2019 DeMott Summer Reading. Lee, who will be a writer-in-residence at the College starting this fall, will deliver this year’s DeMott lecture at the close of Orientation week on Sunday, September 1 at 4:00 p.m. in Johnson Chapel. 

We have reserved a copy of Pachinko for each incoming student. Instructions for receiving your copy were included in communications from the Office of Student Affairs in May. If you need assistance with receiving your copy of the book, contact

There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion with Min Jin Lee immediately following the DeMott Lecture. Additionally, if you are interested in participating in a small-group discussion of Pachinko over dinner with President Martin, you can sign up here.

The DeMott Lecture was established in 2005 by Alan P. Levenstein’ 56 in honor of Benjamin DeMott, a cultural critic and much-loved member of the Amherst English faculty from 1951 until his retirement in 1990. Inspired by his example, the DeMott Lecture seeks to expose incoming students to an engagement with the world marked by intellectual originality of thought and concern for issues of social and economic inequality.

DeMott was the author of more than a dozen books, including The Imperial Middle: Why Americans Can’t Think Straight About Class; The Trouble with Friendship: Why Americans Can’t Think Straight About Race; and Killer Woman Blues: Why Americans Can’t Think Straight About Gender and Power. He was also a frequent essayist for popular publications, including The Atlantic and Harper’s.