When the incoming Freshman class at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado arrive on campus in Fall 2014, they will begin to read and study Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking in different courses throughout the Fall semester. Sister Prejean’s memoir takes readers inside the United States’ death penalty system where she became the spiritual adviser to Patrick Sonnier, a man convicted of the murder of two teenagers and sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. Prejean’s moving narrative takes a critical eye to our death penalty system and asks how can a society benefit from replicating the violence it condemns.
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Earlier in October, Outcasts United by Warren St. John was unveiled as the Common Reading Program book selection for the 2011-12 year.
Becky Burleigh, head coach of the University of Florida’s women’s soccer team, spoke at the event on why she loves Outcasts United. Watch this video to hear why Burleigh feels this title will not only bring the UF campus community together but will also be a great common reading selection for students of all backgrounds.
CommonReads is happy to announce three university common reading adoptions of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Students at Northeastern University, Northridge College, and Springfield Technical Community College are reading Michael Patrick Macdonald’s memoir about growing up in “Southie,” the proudly insular neighborhood in South Boston with the highest concentration of white poverty in America.
Rocked by Whitey Bulger’s crime schemes and busing riots, MacDonald’s Southie is populated by sharply hewn characters like his Ma, a mini-skirted, accordion-playing single mother who endures the deaths of four of her eleven children. Nearly suffocated by his grief and his community’s code of silence, MacDonald tells his family story here with gritty but moving honesty.
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.
To visit All Bonaventure Reads’ website, click here.
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.
Morgan State University to read Medical Apartheid and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks during the 2010-2011 academic year
Morgan State University will add two Random House, Inc. books to their campus-wide reading program this coming academic year.
For the Fall 2010 semester, the university has selected Harriet A. Washington’s 2007 National Book Critic’s Circle Award Winner, Medical Apartheid. In Spring 2011, students will read New York Times bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. For the latter, the university plans to hold campus-wide discussions about issues the book raises and also plans to hold a symposium entitled “The Unsettling Legacy of Henrietta Lacks: Ethics, Values and Minorities in Modern Medicine and Scientific Research.”
Has your committee read Henrietta Lacks? What types of programming does your university or community hold for its common read?
The book has been previously selected by Concordia University, SUNY-New Paltz, University of Buffalo, University of North Dakota, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, among other colleges. It was also a community read for the “One Book, One Springfield” program in Springfield, Massachussetts.
After learning of his former professor’s terminal illness, author Mitch Albom flew to Brandeis University, reunited with his old friend, and returned every Tuesday thereafter to visit with him. Morrie Schwartz turned these visits into one final “class”: a lesson in how to live. This book chronicles their time together.