This year, students, faculty, and staff at Mountain View College will learn about and consider the challenges faced by Americans working for minimum wage as they read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. The bestselling book has been selected for the 2012 Common Book Project.
Each year, a committee seeks a text “that has application across an array of academic disciplines.”
The common book should encourage students to think critically, ask questions, and discuss themes and issues with their peers. A truly interdisciplinary initiative, Mountain View faculty has “integrated the Common Book into course sections in History, Spanish, Humanities, Biology, Art, English, Chemistry, Physics, Drama, Speech, Government, Cultural Studies and Developmental Writing.”
Beyond the classroom, programming to complement the Common Book Project includes “author lectures, performing arts events, visual arts exhibits and Café Conversations.” Most notably, Barbara Ehrenreich kicked off the fall programming calendar when she visited campus in September.
This month, the Common Book Writing Contest, open to any student enrolled at MVC, calls for 5,000-word essays written in response to a brief prompt. First, Second, and Third place prizes will be awarded, and all entries are considered for publication in the MVC Writer’s Garret, the college’s literary magazine.
Since its first publication in 2001, nearly 100 colleges and universities have adopted Nickel and Dimed for their common reading programs. Check out the list of those schools, and browse our other most Popular Picks for common reading.
Nickel and Dimed • Picador • 256 pages