Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Message from Author Ernest Cline

The novel Ready Player One from debut author Ernest Cline has already won the 2012 Alex Award and has just recently been selected for this year’s common reading at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this letter to educators, Cline discusses his own personal  identification with the story behind the book and why Ready Player One has managed to resonate so well with the college-aged audience in particular:

The reception my novel Ready Player One has received has been, quite simply, beyond any debut author’s wildest dreams. Much to my amazement, the book spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, showed up on several Best of 2011 lists, and is even in development as a big-budget movie with Warner Bros.

But the facet of Ready Player One’s success I’ve found the most surprising—and gratifying—is how much younger readers love the book.  More precisely, they seem to be enjoying it not just as a big dumb adventure story.  They’re actually thinking about the chewier issues Continue reading

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VCU Announces Full Body Burden as Summer Reading Selection

Virginia Commonwealth University has announced this morning that their book selection for this year’s summer reading is none other than Full Body Burden!

This narrative work of nonfiction tells the story of a young woman growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated “the most contaminated site in America.” It’s the story of growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium.

As this memoir unfolds, it also reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism—a shocking account of the government’s sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents’ vain attempts to seek justice in court. Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class action testimony, this book will get students and entire communities talking.

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UMass Amherst Selects Ready Player One for 2012 Common Reading

The Common Reading Committee at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has selected Ready Player One for their Freshmen Read Fall 2012 title!

Ready Player One, by debut novelist Ernest Cline, is the winner of the 2012 Alex Award as well as the 2011 School and Library Journal pick for “Best Adult Books 4 Teens.” This novel takes place in the year 2044, where living in the “real world” is an option—instead, humanity spends hours plugged into OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia.

Like many other people, Wade Watts dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world through a series of puzzles. When Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle, suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt. In order to survive, Wade has to win, and in order to do that he may have to leave behind his perfect virtual existence and finally face the real world he’s been so desperate to escape.

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Random House FYE® 2012 Author Luncheon Videos & Photos Now Available


Video from the Eighth Annual Random House First-Year Experience Author Luncheon event is now up on YouTube. We hope you enjoy them and share them with your colleagues!

You may visit our YouTube page to browse all of the videos. For your convenience, we’ve also listed the links to the individual author talks (in speaking order) and the Author Q+A below:

Be sure to also check out the photos from our luncheon as well on Common Reads Facebook and Flickr accounts!

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Baker University Unveils Outcasts United as Common Reading Selection

The search for Baker University’s common book has ended! Last Thursday the university announced that  Warren St. John’s Outcasts United was selected as Baker’s common book.

The Baker Orange editorial board writes in their recent announcement that the search for the common book was a decision made by the Office of Student Affairs to find a text for all incoming freshmen to read next fall. The book will have a “community-building” aspect in some way.

In addition to reading the text, student affairs also wants to bring a speaker in who has some relation to the book.

“I am excited, but I think that campus is too, on how we will unify by having one book that the whole freshman class will read and how the negotiations we are having on bringing someone to campus will bring the book more to life,” Dean of Students Cassy Bailey said.

To read the full article on how this text was selected, please visit thebakerorange.com

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Philadelphia U Selects Start Something That Matters for FYE Pick!

We’re happy to share that Philadelphia University has selected Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something That Matters as their text for the 2012 First Year Experience Summer Reading Program! The university’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, and its drive to educate civically engaged leaders make this text an important message: that students’ passions and careers are not mutually exclusive, but in fact should be intimately connected. Read more on PhilaU Today’s article about how they selected this title and why the book’s message is of great importance to students today.

In Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from such other innovative organizations as method, charity: water, FEED Projects, and TerraCycle. Blake presents the six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful without resources; from overcoming fear and doubt to incorporating giving into every aspect of your life.

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