Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Random House Common Reading Advisory Board meets in NYC

l. to r., back row: Michael Gentile (RH), Jared Tippets (Purdue University), Jeanne Leep (Edgewood College), Elizabeth Bracher (Boston College), Steven Girardot (Georgia Institute of Technology), Tara Coleman (Kansas State University), Karen Weathermon (Washington State University
front row: Skip Dye (RH), Rebecca Campbell (Northern Arizona University), Jennifer Latino (Campbell University), Daphne Rankin (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Random House held its second meeting of its now newly-expanded Common Reading Advisory Board in the RH headquarters in New York City from October 24th-26th.  The board was launched in 2010 as a way for Random House, a trade book publisher, to better understand and serve common reading programs across the nation.  This past week’s intensive meeting included program directors hailing from a variety of geographical, institutional and program level backgrounds.

The summit featured intensive discussions about topics of important to common reading programs, such as: selecting a book, hosting an author and developing innovative programming.  One topic of particular interest was the way in which common reading programs can better engage colleagues at an intra-institutional level.  The meeting helped to deepen Random House’s connection to and understanding of this important university program, and has yielded a great number of ideas that Random House and the RH Common Reading Advisory Board will implement in the coming months.   Stay tuned for more details in the future….

To view additional Summit photos on our Facebook page, go to:  https://www.facebook.com/commonreads/summit

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The Other Wes Moore Makes an Impact on Penn State Berks Students

Penn State Berks recently selected The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore for its 2012-2013 Common Reading program. All incoming baccalaureate students were required to read the book prior to the start of the fall semester. We were thrilled to learn that the book and the author’s visit had a real impact; the university shared this positive feedback from one of its first-year students:

“All throughout high school as horrible as it sounds I never read our books assigned for class. I was never interested in reading something that just didn’t interest me, like Shakespeare. But, when I discovered I had to read a book for first year seminar, I assumed it would just be like all the high school books I was assigned to read. I went and bought the book, read the back cover and thought it sounded interesting and started reading. I was glued to the book and couldn’t put it down, which was a first for me.”

Click here to learn more about the Penn State Berks Common Reading Program. They also have a fun, informative, and interactive Facebook page now featuring The Other Wes Moore.

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How College Habits Changed My Life

College saved my life. Or, more accurately, the good and bad habits I learned in college saved my life.

And since then, nothing has been the same.

In 1993, I left Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a high school with a 50 percent drop out rate, for New Haven, Connecticut, and Yale. Here is what I did not know at the time: that sheets should be washed more than once a semester; that if you stand in the rain for 40 minutes, a shower afterward might be a wise idea; that when a professor says you need to read the book, you actually need to read the book; that I would develop the best – and worst – habits of my life, and they would shape every major decision over the next two decades, including the profession I chose, who I married, how I raise my children and, today, why I believe those choices have a meaningful purpose. However, at my freshman assembly, I had no idea what was to come. That day, Yale’s provost gave the assembled class three pieces of advice: if you are feeling tired, go to sleep. If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat. And if you are feeling homesick or overwhelmed, have a small piece of chocolate and remember that everyone else – no matter how confident or popular they seem – feels the same way. It was great advice. It was – though I didn’t know it at the time – a small tutorial in how to create habits by choosing cues Continue reading

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The Tiger’s Wife author Téa Obreht Visits Georgetown University

In August, Téa Obreht was honored as this year’s Marino Family International Writers’ Academic Workshop author at Georgetown University. The Marino Family International Writers’ Academic Workshop has been taking place at Georgetown since 1995 and has featured authors such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Margaret Atwood, Dinaw Mengestu (a Georgetown alumnus), and Orhan Pamuk. The Workshop serves as students’ introduction to the academic life at Georgetown and is an integral part of the freshman experience. It affirms Georgetown’s commitment to the highest academic standards and adds a significant international cultural dimension to the academic formation of Georgetown students.

Obreht’s talk with the Class of 2016 during New Student Orientation included thoughts about her writing process. Though her debut novel The Tiger’s Wife officially took her three years to write, she said, she realized that she had been writing the book her entire life. Continue reading

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