As the new school year begins, so does the annual reception of class textbooks. These textbooks contain unapologetically honest accounts of the year ahead. This year, some pages in my calculus textbook were dog-tagged and decorated with coffee stains. I hoped that my textbook predecessor was an unhinged procrastinator who required coffee to supplement late-night cram sessions, but the realist in me knew this class would entail many arduous nights of studying for even the best student.
The first step I take in knighting my textbook is warning it that I will, at least once, fall asleep on it and stain it with a tear of defeat. I will slam it shut in pure frustration because it does an impossibly poor job of explaining conic functions, and, five minutes post-breakdown, I will open it gingerly and beg it to tell me about hyperbolas.