Monthly Archives: August 2010

St. Bonaventure Freshmen Begin the New School Year with Henrietta Lacks

The folks at St. Bonaventure University have done some amazing programming in support of their common reading selection of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  Ms. Jean Trevarton Ehman, Director, Teaching and Learning Center, St. Bonaventure University writes in to say:

We are enjoying enthusiastic responses to our All Bonaventure Reads selection of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  Our 500 freshmen were given copies of the book at Summer Orientation and are to submit a short “Henrietta” reaction to our Provost by August 30; early returns are impressive.  In addition, Henrietta – in cardboard cutout form – attended Orientation and is on deck for sundry Fall semester appearances, including Rebecca Skloot’s Sept. 29 address; the attached shows Henrietta in Orientation mode with four new friends.

St. Bonaventure University students pose with cut-out of Henrietta Lacks

To visit All Bonaventure Reads’ website, click here.


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Why Howard University will have Dreams from My Father


The Writing Program at Howard University has selected Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams From My Father for its Common Text to be read by all incoming first-year students this Fall.

Says Dana A. Williams, Ph.D., Department of English Chair, about their selection:

. . .few contemporary texts show better mastery of rhetorical strategies and expository writing skills than the President’s memoir. While reading Dreams, students will learn about one of the world’s most important figures, see how he uses writing to craft his self-image and self-narrative, and gain heightened awareness of contemporary social, political, cultural, and familial issues.

Written prior to the President’s election, Dreams from My Father is a lyrical and unsentimental look at his experiences as the son of a black African father and a white American mother.

The book has also been selected for common reading at the following colleges and universities: Augustana College, Boston College, California State University Eastbay, Elmhurst College, LaGuardia Community College, Quinnipiac University, Southern Methodist University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, University of Washington, and Xavier University of Louisiana.


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Frank Phillips College students will Make the Impossible Possible

Students at Frank Phillips College have a lot to discuss this Fall as they read Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary as part of the university’s common reading program.

Previously selected as common reading at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Voorhees College, and Winthrop University, the book has received many accolades including:

“It’s the American dream with a twist: for Strickland, it was never about shedding his past and getting ahead but about following his bliss and making a difference.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Straddling between both autobiographical and inspirational genre, the most exquisite beauty of this book is in its straightforward and heartfelt approach. There are so many imminently quotable lines you can draw from cover to cover. This is the kind of book you’d want to read over and over again, with a marker in hand to annotate it as you read, or with a pen and paper on the side to take down notes. Or even both. For as you share in the struggles and successes of Bill Strickland, Make The Impossible Possible is an inexhaustible wellspring of real-life inspiration.”—Sacramento Book Review

Click here for a list of other universities that have adopted Make the Impossible Possible for common reading.

Watch video of author Bill Strickland speaking at the 2010 Random House, Inc. Author Luncheon, part of the First-Year Experience conference.


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Enrique’s Journey resonates nationwide

Enrique’s Journey, the astonishing true story of a Honduran boy’s perilous quest to reach his mother in the United States, by award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario has been named the second most read book for common reading programs over this past year. The book continues to be read by high schools, universities, and city-wide programs across the nation, and now several more programs are joining the list:

*The city of Memphis, Tenessee has adopted the book for its next One City, One Read program.

*Texas A&M University has selected the book as its Fall 2010 common read and will distribute it to all incoming first year students.

*The University of Southern California will be using Enrique’s Journey in its undergraduate Writing 140 course. Ms. Nazario will be the featured speaker for the university’s Fall Distinguished Lecture Series on Social Issues.

*And many other colleges/universities are reading the book this fall/spring: Allegheny College (Meadville, PA), Arcadia University (Glenside, PA), Chandler-Gilbert Community College (Maricopa County, AZ), Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO), and Hawai’i Pacific University (Honolulu, HI). 

Find a complete list of all universities and programs that have selected Enrique’s Journey for common reading here.

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Georgia State University to kick off First-Year Book Program with Outcasts United

For its inagural First-Year Book Program, Georgia State University has selected what is quickly becoming a state favorite: Outcasts United by Warren St. John. Incoming first-year students will have the opportunity to read the book this summer and it will be integrated into the GSU 1010 New Student Orientation and Engl 1101 English Composition I courses this fall.

In a press release the university said:

“A First-Year Book Program is a proven way to generate intellectual interest and engagement among students,” said Allison Calhoun-Brown, GSU’s academic director of student retention. “Outcasts United” is a very interesting and thought provoking book. This program offers freshmen students an opportunity to engage it collectively and from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives.  Reading and discussing it together as a class will help familiarize them with the kind of intellectual excitement that flows from the academic enterprise.”

The selected novel tells the story of how Clarkston, Ga., transformed from a predominately white town into one of the most diverse communities in the country, after it was designated a resettlement center for refugees around the world in the early ’90s. The story, which is told through the lens of a soccer team of refugee boys called the “Fugees,” provides readers with lessons about how to create community in places where everyone is different.

Read more about the book’s selection and the First-Year Book program at Georgia State here.

Outcasts United has also been selected by Georgia Tech University ,  Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA) and several other universities. Find a full list here.


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What librarians are saying about the Random House, Inc. One Book, One Community catalog…


Random House Library Services recently received some wonderful feedback about their One Book, One Community catalog and recommended books. Carrie Reich, Director of the Martin Library at The Art Institute of York – Pennsylvania says:

I was looking through your catalog of One Book, One Community suggestions and was intrigued by several titles….One of my favorite OBOC [One Book, One Community] books we’ve done in the last several years was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and I can definitely say it was a perfect book for the program. I also saw in the catalog quite a few titles that made it to our short list for next year and many that are already on my to-read list… So it looks like you may have a pretty reliable selection team on staff as these seem like excellent suggestions, based on our success with and fondness of several of them already!  Thank you for sharing this resource!

If you have not yet picked up the One Book, One Community catalog, you may e-mail to request a copy. The catalog is also available in PDF format here.


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