All incoming first-year students are required to read City of Thorns—as well as the program’s other pick, Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey—before arriving on campus in the fall. City of Thorns will be used in numerous classes and residence hall activities, and it will be the subject of a variety of city-campus programs and special events. Each year, the program also brings the authors to the community and to Michigan State University to welcome the new first-year students to campus. Ben Rawlence will visit the East Lansing community in mid-September. More details on his visit and other events are to come.
The theme of this year’s One Book, One Community program is “Faces of Migration: The Human Experience,” and it focuses on the emotions and personal experiences of individuals on migration journeys. City of Thorns was ultimately selected because the program felt that the book is”vivid” and “illuminating,” it tackles topics that are relevant to both students and the general community, and it fits the selected theme; the book interweaves the stories of nine individuals living in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
The purpose of the One Book, One College program is to encourage the Michigan State University and surrounding East Lansing community to read the same books, and come together to explore the books’ themes and issues. It is one of the first community reads programs to bring together students from a major university and the residents of its surrounding community. The program seeks to build an intellectual and social rapport among students and community members through the collective experience of reading, thinking, and discussing challenging ideas and themes that tackle important social issues. Additionally, the program strives to provide Michigan State University’s incoming first-year students with a shared learning experience that introduces them to the intellectual rigor of college-level academics.
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City of Thorns • Picador • 352 pages