Monthly Archives: May 2010

Highschool, College, and Beyond – Great Books for Your Common Readers & Grads


It’s May and you all know what that means…graduating seniors! Whether they are high schoolers going off to college or college grads entering the workforce, there is no doubt your students will be juggling pearls of wisdom from all sides.

This past Sunday, The Washington Post published a list of “Books for graduates setting out on that next big adventure.” Not your average list (Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is omitted) these books have been hand-selected by recent college grad, Elizabeth Sher,  the gift book-a-month program coordinator at Washington D.C.’s Politics & Prose.

Of the Random House, Inc. books that made the cut, Sher said:

A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind “should be required reading for all high school students heading off to college.” The book follows a young man to the Ivy League.

Bill Strickland’s Make the Impossible Possible “tells of the author’s big dreams, struggles, and successes making his Pittsburgh ghetto a better place.”

Both books already have an excellent track record among universities. A Hope in the Unseen has been selected for common reading at fifteen colleges and universities and was a Maryland state-wide read. Bill Strickland has received honorary degrees from fourteen universities, is a sought-after commencement speaker and has been recognized by Harvard Business School. Make the Impossible Possible has also been selected for common reading at four universities.

Click here to view video of Bill Strickland’s recent talk at the Sixth Annual Random House Author Luncheon during the First-Year Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado.


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Welcome Chronicle Review readers and Facebook friends! Enter to win a FREE copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks!

Did you see our ad in The Chronicle Review? Are you coming to us via Facebook? Whether the path, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks—and possibly win a free copy of this important, new book!  (offer open only to academics and librarians)

Here’s a brief summary: Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors. She was diagnosed with an aggressive and fatal form of cervical cancer and was dead by age 30. Yet her cells–taken without her knowledge–became one of the most important tools in medicine. HeLa cells were vital in the development of the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions, making billions of dollars for many but not her family. Yet she remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave—until now.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is being read and discussed by professors and students from across disciplines, such as African-American Studies, Biology, Ethics, Journalism and more. And the book has already been selected by over 15 college common reading programs—a rare feat for any book let alone one that just published. To see the long and growing list of academic praise and common reading program adoptions, click here.

You can also begin reading the book now by clicking here and then ponder such questions as: How do race, class and gender factor in this story? Should the Lacks family be compensated for their mother’s contribution to medicine? What does this story say about modern medical ethics? The first five people—must be eithr an academic or a librarian—to post a thoughtful comment here will receive a free copy of the book. 


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