The Housekeeper and the Professor Selected for CCBC’s 2010-11 Community Book Connection

The Community College of Baltimore County has selected Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor for the 2010 – 2011 Community Book Connection.

Shortlisted by a selection committee, the novel was ultimately chosen by votes from the whole college community. According to the college, “passionate and vocal lobbying in and around CCBC is highly encouraged.”  Faculty at all of CCBC’s campuses will be urged to adopt the book in their courses this coming year.

A series of cultural and academic events related to the book’s interdisciplinary themes (especially the joy and value of learning, extracurricular applications of mathematics, and the science and psychology of memory), meant to enhance the intellectual climate of the college, is in the works.

The act of reading is one of the essential pursuits of the fully educated human being. When we engage in reading, research, and reflection, we are forever enriched, becoming more powerful, perceptive people . . . When we read, discuss, and reflect together, we get to know each other and become more sensitive to the details, not only in the work at hand, but also in the way that it is perceived by others equipped with a differently focused lens . . . What we choose to read and interpret defines our values and our commitments to the larger world . . . It is with these basic ideas about the value of reading that we created the Community Book Connection.

Kim Jensen, Chair of the CCBC Community Book Connection Committee

The Community Book Connection is a faculty-initiated program designed and organized by people who believe that classroom learning is inextricably linked to real-life social issues and concerns. The Community College of Baltimore County selected A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier for the program in 2009.

The Housekeeper and the Professor • Picador • 192 pages

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This I Believe II is the 29th Annual Summer Reading Book at Miami University in Ohio

This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women is the summer reading title for first-year students at Miami University in Ohio this year!

The Summer Reading Program, now in its 29th year, is considered a student’s first assignment as a Miami University freshman.  The program underlines those activities valued most by the Miami community: critical engagement with ideas; close interaction among faculty, staff, and students; and reading, listening, talking, and learning as characteristics of active, responsible citizenship.

To welcome new students to the university and to introduce them to the engaged reading, writing, and critical thinking they’ll do in their four years there, the entire class receives a copy of the same book and reads it over the summer.  When they arrive on campus in August, students will hear a lecture by the author (or, in this case, editor) and discuss the reading in small groups of classmates from their residential halls, professors, and upperclass student leaders.

Miami University in Ohio has previously adopted Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich and Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night.  To see a list of schools that have adopted these books, as well as Jay Allison and Dan Gediman’s first volume of essays, This I Believe, and other Popular Picks from Macmillan, click here.

This I Believe II • Holt Paperbacks • 288 pages

Saint Michael’s College First-Year Students Reading Field Notes from a Catastrophe this Summer

Saint Michael’s College has adopted Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change as the common reading book for their First-Year Seminar this year.

The First-Year Seminar and its corresponding reading program emphasize interdisciplinary scholarship and connecting new students with the SMC faculty and as classmates. During orientation, faculty members from different academic departments will represent the interdisciplinary applications of the book (e.g. Biology, Political Science, Economics) in a panel presentation.  Class discussions and assignments in the first week of the First-Year Seminar course will focus on Field Notes from a Catastrophe, its themes, and its arguments.  Read more about the book

In fact, the program kicks off even before classes begin.  Once they’ve registered for classes, students will receive an introductory letter and their first writing assignment, based on the book, from their future seminar instructor. The assignment will be due on the first day of the seminar in August. “This approach has had terrific results in enabling us to get right into discussion on the first day of class, rather than just going over a syllabus,” writes the Coordinator of the First-Year Seminar program.

In these small, writing-intensive courses, students explore broad questions in the liberal arts in an environment that encourages discussion and active learning.

“The small class size allows instructors to get to know students well and to work closely with their writing. It also encourages students to work cooperatively, creating a small community of learners, a microcosm of the college as a whole. Through its emphasis on engaged participation, the seminar challenges students to take responsibility for their own education.”

First-Year Seminar, Liberal Studies Curriculum, Saint Michael’s College

Field Notes from a Catastrophe is one of Macmillan’s Popular Picks for First-Year Reading!  Click here to read a list of other colleges and universities that have used the book, and our other popular titles.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe • Bloomsbury • 240 pages