Join Macmillan & Robin Sloan for Dinner at the 2014 Conference on The First-Year Experience!

Attention attendees of the 2014 Conference on The First-Year Experience! Don’t forget to RSVP to our author dinner featuring Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore!

Monday, February 17th at 7pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt

Seaport Ballroom, Salon H
(Second Level – Map)

Wrap up your conference at an author dinner co-hosted by Macmillan, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster.

Robin Sloan is one of four authors who will speak that evening. He’ll also be signing free copies of his novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

2014 fye dinner ad monday jan 17

You may RSVP online or at Booth #6 in the exhibit hall!

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Salvage the Bones is Rocky Mountain College’s First Common Read

Rocky Mountain College has selected Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel, Salvage the Bones to inaugurate their new common reading initiative.

The RMC Common Read is “based principally on a shared reading experience.” Salvage the Bones was chosen by a committee of faculty, staff, and students from a list of thirty-five titles that had been nominated by the campus community.

The book is assigned reading in all First-Year Writing and Critical Reading and Evaluative Writing courses, both of which are part of the required Core Curriculum. In the selection process, the committee sought “a text relevant to multiple disciplines” to encourage discussion throughout the academic community.

Beyond the classroom, students heard a lecture by Jesmyn Ward when she visited campus in October. They also screened and discussed Beasts of the Southern Wild, the 2012 Academy Award-nominated film which, like Salvage the Bones, takes place in the southern Louisiana bayou as a hurricane approaches; the film and the novel touch on some of the same themes: isolation, poverty, family, survival.

Susan Olp of The Billings Gazette sat in on Associate Professor Jacqueline Dundas’ First-Year Writing course, where students were discussing the author’s emotive descriptions and the novel’s themes.

Ms. Olp spoke to a number of RMC students and professors about the Common Read program and about Salvage the Bones. Read more here: Award-winning novel focus of Rocky’s first Common Read

Salvage the Bones • Bloomsbury • 288 pages

The Barbarian Nurseries is the 2012 First-Year Summer Reading Book at Pomona College

This summer, the Pomona College class of 2016 is reading Héctor Tobar’s contemporary novel, The Barbarian NurseriesIncoming students will receive a copy of from the college and read it over the summer.

The book, winner of the California Book Award for Fiction, is about a Mexican maid working for a Mexican-American family in a Los Angeles villa who witnesses tensions between her married employers rise to the breaking point, and then finds herself left alone in the house with their two sons. The author weaves issues like immigration, racial and class divides, and social and familial conflict into a character-driven story that’s set just miles from Pomona’s campus, but is relevant across the U.S.

Héctor Tobar will visit campus to speak and to meet students during orientation in the fall. Faculty will also lead small group discussions among the newest members of the Pomona community, and “there will be many opportunities to share [their] thoughts, reflections, and ideas about the book” with other faculty, staff, and students leaders in Sponsor and Peer Mentor roles, who will have read it, too.

The Barbarian Nurseries will also be assigned reading in select Fall 2012 courses, especially Critical Inquiry First-Year Seminars. The Critical Inquiry curriculum offers writing intensive courses on a range of interdisciplinary topics. The goal is to “prepare students to participate fully and successfully in the intellectual community that is Pomona College.”

Each year, the First-Year Book is selected by an Orientation Committee served by college faculty and three Pomona students under the direction of the Dean of Student and the Coordinator of the Critical Inquiry Seminar Program. In 2010, the committee chose Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read for the summer reading program. The Barbarian Nurseries is the second novel that the school has selected, following last year’s adoption of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (Vintage, 2006). To read about other fictional works from Macmillan that have been adopted for common reading programs, click here.

The Barbarian Nurseries • Farrar, Straus & Giroux • 432 pages

Clark Atlanta University’s Class of 2015 Reads Daniel Black’s Perfect Peace

For the second year in a row, Daniel Black’s Perfect Peace is the common reading assignment for incoming first-year students at Clark Atlanta University!

Members of Class of 2015 are reading the novel before they arrive on campus for CAU Experience, the new student orientation program, which begins on August 17.  The author will facilitate several discussion sessions about this year’s book on campus during CAU Experience.

Throughout the school year, students will continue to discuss and write about Perfect Peace in the two-semester First Year Seminar, which is a required course for all new students.  The First Year Seminar at CAU “assist[s] students with the transition to the University . . . It also focuses on academic, personal and social issues relevant to college life.”

In previous years, the university has assigned other works by Daniel Black, including They Tell Me of a Home and The Sacred Place for the First-Year Seminar required reading. Dr. Black is an Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Africana Women’s Studies at CAU, where he studied English as an undergraduate himself.

Perfect Peace • St. Martin’s Press • 352 pages

Macmillan’s Common Reading March Madness Picks!

Colleges and universities of all sizes in all regions are gearing up for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and Macmillan wants in on the bracketology!

Click for a closer look:

Macmillan is not affiliated with the NCAA, ESPN, or HP. Bracket Source: ESPN

Since I’m all about selecting winning books for common reading, I based my bracket picks on the schools that have adopted Macmillan titles for their programs. When neither school had—at least, not this season!—I went with the lower seed (those picks are noted in black). When Macmillan adopters went head to head, I used seed positions to make my predictions, as well.

I proposed the common reading bracket with tongue in cheek, but my little experiment has been fun and informative. Here we have a whole new perspective on the trends and the diversity in common reading selections at schools across the country.

As you can see, the competitors are very well read!

In the East, Ohio State is the favorite with Elie Wiesel’s Night, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, and Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man. First Four victor Clemson has previously adopted Ron Rash’s novel One Foot in Eden, and they’ll be reading his Saints at the River this fall. Common reader MVP No Impact Man is the Fall 2011 book at the University of Kentucky. Nickel and Dimed has been the common reading title at both UNC, Chapel Hill and Syracuse University. The UNC Tarheels have also read Picking Cotton and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, while Syracuse has adopted A Long Way Gone. The University of Washington represents with Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone dominates in the West, where the universities of Texas and Tennessee have both selected the book. Hampton University first-year students have been reading Daniel Black’s They Tell Me of a Home just this year and Temple’s have read Elie Wiesel’s Night. Number two seed San Diego State University has adopted Ray C. Anderson’s Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist.

Next, we go to the Southwest, where Boston University has favorites Nickel and Dimed and A Long Way Gone on its roster. The University of Illinois has also adopted Nickel and Dimed and the University of Akron has chosen A Long Way Gone. Class Matters has been read campus-wide at the University of Richmond, while Saint Peter’s has adopted Night. Florida State students submitted their own “This I Believe” essays when the university picked This I Believe—how many of the Seminoles wrote about basketball?

Finally, in the Southeast, University of Pittsburgh students have read Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Utah State has adopted Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone and Wofford College freshmen have read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden. Students in the University of Wisconsin system, from Parkside to Marathon County, have read everything from This I Believe II to Deep Economy; I hope they’re all united behind the Badgers from Madison! But can sixth-seed Saint John’s take Katharine Weber’s Triangle all the way to the championship?

The Big Dance begins tomorrow—what book are you rooting for?

P.S. For more unconventional bracketology for academics, check out The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Tweed Madness!

Hampton University’s 2011 Read-In: They Tell Me of a Home

Daniel Black’s novel, They Tell Me of a Home, is this year’s selection for the annual Read-In at Hampton University.

The Read-In is a university-wide shared reading program facilitated by the English Department. The goal: to encourage students to read for pleasure by choosing a work of fiction by an African American author, a book that addresses a theme, a question, or an event relevant to issues that students confront in their own lives. Students share the experience of reading the selected work; the book is integrated into English courses and into the Honors Program curriculum.

All Hampton University students, faculty and staff are invited to participate by reading the book and attending the related events in the President’s Lecture Series, which will invite the author and other guests to speak about the book on campus.

They Tell Me of a Home • St. Martin’s Griffin • 352 pages

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

New Students at Hawaii Pacific University Read Little Brother

Non-fiction titles, including memoirs and books about societal issues, may be chosen for common reading programs more often, but fictional works with provocative, relevant themes and relatable, or perhaps intriguingly unique characters are good options, too.

This year, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother was the first work of fiction to be chosen for HPU Reads, the common book program for first-year students at Hawaii Pacific University.

Little Brother is about a tech-savvy teenager who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes a terrorism suspect. His casual objection to being monitored—via his internet use, the school-employed gate sensors, and public transit fast-passes—becomes a critical, life-altering protest. He—and the reader—must ask: Where is the line between public safety and personal freedom?

A committee at HPU selected the novel, as it has selected previous works for HPU Reads, based on the following criteria:

—A connection to global learning
—Appropriate to a wide variety of disciplines and courses
—Suggests a variety of co-curricular events and speakers that will enhance students’ general education experience
—Will sustain discussion for a term, if not for a year.
—Is appropriate for first-year college students.

On Little Brother’s theme, the importance of thinking critically about security, Cory Doctorow wrote, “It’s my sincere hope that this book will spark vigorous discussions about security, liberty, privacy, and free speech—about the values that ennoble us as human beings and give us the dignity to do honor to our species.”  Read the rest of “Security Literacy” here.

Little Brother • Tor Teen • 416 pages

Update 02/10/2010: Click here to become a fan of HPU Reads on Facebook!