Category Archives: In the News

What Gives You Meaning?

9780553419993By Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters (Crown, January 2017)

When I was a senior in high school, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life: I was going to be a doctor. I loved science, and easing the suffering of others, I reasoned, was a noble purpose. My freshman year in college, I enrolled in pre-med classes and worked in a lab. But as I got caught up in the details of the pre-med track—dissecting mice brains, filling out lab reports, and foregoing humanities classes in order to take organic chemistry—the idea of being a doctor increasingly left me cold. I had a nagging feeling that there was something else that I should be doing with my life. What that was, though, I had no idea. After dropping pre-med, I drifted from one career track to the next, unsure where my path lay. I felt lost. Continue reading

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Northern Arizona creates online materials for common read, The Underground Girls of Kabul

9780307952493When members of the class of of 2020 arrive at Northern Arizona University in August, they will engage in thoughtful discussion on The Underground Girls of Kabul — Jenny Nordberg’s powerful and moving account of young girls who dress as boys in deeply segregated Afghanistan where girls have almost no rights and little freedom.

NAU has created materials to augment discussions: a chapter map to parse out topics and connect them to the text; a flier complete with author Jenny Nordberg’s campus visit information to promote the book and support discussion leaders; and a bookmark with title information.

Click here to read more about The Underground Girls of Kabul.

Click here for more information on the author’s speaking arrangements.

Click here to learn about similar materials that NAU created for their 2015 Common Reading program feature Bryan Stevenson and Just Mercy.

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New Voices Join the Discussion: Penguin Random House Common Reading Advisory Board Meets at FYE® 2016

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Penguin Random House recently hosted its Fifth Annual Common Reading Advisory Board Summit in Orlando, one day prior to the 2016 Conference on the First-Year Experience®.

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Why Healthy Sleep is Key for Academic Achievement

9781101904008By Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time (Harmony, April 2016)

There is more and more evidence of how sleep deprivation is affecting students, both their physical and mental health and their ability to learn. At the same time, we are living in a golden age of sleep science, revealing all the ways in which sleep plays a vital role in our decision making, emotional intelligence, cognitive function, and creativity – in other words, the building blocks of a great education. This science is already being applied, as many schools have seen positive results from pushing back start times. Continue reading

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What makes Unfair an ideal first year experience selection?

9780770437763A checklist from Adam Benforado on what makes his Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Justice (Crown, June 2015) ideal for common reading:

√ Student Engagement.   It’s impossible to choose a book that all students will find interesting and relevant, but Unfair comes awfully close. Crime and the responses to crime define our lives—the paths we walk, the rules we follow, the taxes we pay, the shows we watch. And there is something about criminal law stories that hold us by the edge of our seat. The cases I explore have all the drama of Law & Order or CSI episodes, but they’re real and they raise compelling questions: What could lead an otherwise upstanding attorney to conceal a critical piece of evidence from the other side? Why would a person confess to a crime she didn’t commit when under no physical duress? Is it possible to tell whether someone is guilty by looking at a scan of his brain? The answers from psychology and neuroscience are often just as riveting. Continue reading

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The Start-up of You Author Ben Casnocha Gets Ringing Endorsement from Tennessee Tech

9780307888907A note of appreciation from Allen Mullis, First Year Read Director at Tennessee Tech University:

“We wanted students, especially our incoming freshmen, to understand the importance of taking control of their career now by getting engaged not only within their major, but to also establish interdisciplinary engagement as well. The “Start-Up of You” helps identify tools and ideas for students to incorporate into their collegiate experience to help achieve their career goals.”

Click here to watch Ben Casnocha at the First-Year Experience® 2013 Random House Event.

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A Father Speaks Out About His Transgender Daughter & Their Family Journey

9780812995411By Wayne Maines, father of Nicole Maines.  The Maines family is the focus of Amy Ellis Nutt’s Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family (Random House, October 2015)

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine. Before the lecture I spent an hour walking around their beautiful campus, thinking about how to frame my discussion about equality, harassment and my family without getting too emotional. I was concerned that breaking into tears might distract from my message, which acknowledges that we have indeed come far these past five years, but further stresses that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

I am the proud father of identical twins: one is a boy and one is a girl. My beautiful daughter Nicole is transgender. This talk was important to me, a chance to meet with senior staff, middle management and students and have a conversation about transgender rights in schools. Continue reading

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