Make Your Home Among Strangers is Northern Illinois University’s 2017-19 Common Reading Experience Book!

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Northern Illinois University has selected Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet for their 2017-19 Common Reading Experience program!

First-year students enrolled in UNIV 101 (University Experience), transfer students enrolled in UNIV 201 (Transfer Experience), and many of the First-Year Composition courses are required to read Make Your Home Among Strangers this semester. Faculty in other disciplines, such as English, Communications, and Sociology, have also adopted the book as part of their course-required readings this fall. Make Your Home Among Strangers will also be required reading for incoming first-year students enrolled in UNIV 101 and UNIV 201 during the 2018-19 academic year.

Beyond the classroom, NIU will host a variety of free programs and events around the novel throughout the semester. These events include an open mic night where attendees are encouraged to share their stories addressing the meaning of “home” (October 11); a campus visit from author Jennine Capó Crucet (October 17); a book discussion with NIU’s College of Law built around the novel’s theme of immigration and what that means in the age of the Travel Ban (October 26); and an essay contest open to all first-year students. During Crucet’s campus visit, students will have the opportunity to attend a book discussion with Crucet, attend a community reception where they will be able to meet the author, and watch Crucet give a presentation on her novel.

Northern Illinois University’s Common Reading Experience program selects a book that will be used for two years, in order to facilitate ongoing discussions among first-year and second-year students, as well as throughout the campus community. The primary goals of the program are to:

  • Establish a common, educationally-purposeful experience among first-year students to foster community
  • Provide new students with the opportunity to begin exploring new perspectives and ways of viewing the world
  • Orient new students to critical thinking and the spirit of intellectual inquiry.

Make Your Home Among Strangers was selected by a committee comprised of faculty, staff, community members, and students from a list of approximately twenty titles. The book was ultimately selected because it tackles many themes that are relevant to first-year students at NIU, such as social justice, diversity, immigration, ethics, leaving home, socioeconomic status, and first-generation student experiences. “Although Make Your Home Among Strangers is a work of fiction . . . I think it will be particularly impactful for first-generation students at NIU because they will be able to relate to Lizet’s journey as she deals with the different aspects of transitioning to college in an unfamiliar environment,” said Lauren Napolitano, associate director of the First- and Second-Year Experience. “A lot of the issues Lizet struggles with in her first year at college are the same issues our first-generation students are facing here at NIU.”

Click here to see other schools that have adopted Make Your Home Among Strangers. Visit our Popular Picks page for more common reading options from Macmillan!

Make Your Home Among Strangers • Picador • 416 pages

 

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MAKE YOUR HOME AMONG STRANGERS has been selected for George Mason University’s 2017 #MasonReads program!

Make Your Home Among Strangers

George Mason University has selected Jennine Capó Crucet’s novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, for their 2017 Mason Reads program!

All incoming first-year students will receive copies of the book when they attend orientation in either June or July. Students are required to read Make Your Home Among Strangers before heading to campus at the end of August. The book will not only inspire lively dialogue among students when they first arrive on campus, but it will also be integrated into programs, campus events, and classroom activities throughout the rest of the school year.

Crucet will visit campus and speak at the Center for the Arts on Thursday, October 12, at 4:30 p.m. This event will be held in partnership with the Fall for the Book festival. More Mason Reads event and programming information is to come.

Every year, the Mason Reads program ushers incoming freshmen into collegiate life by providing them with a shared reading experience. Throughout the year, the selected title is integrated into classroom coursework, campus activities, and special events. George Mason University outlines that the Mason Reads program enables students to:

  • Develop an increased sense of belonging in the community
  • Cultivate a strong connection with faculty and staff
  • Increase development of the Mason graduate
  • Pursue self-discovery and self-awareness
  • Develop stronger connections between curricular and co-curricular activities and involvement.​​

The school hopes that Make Your Home Among Strangers will be a tool through which incoming students can share many common experiences, both in the classroom and around campus.

Click here to see other schools that have adopted Make Your Home Among Strangers. Visit our Popular Picks page for more common reading options from Macmillan!

Make Your Home Among Strangers • Picador • 416 pages

HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY is Virginia Wesleyan College’s 2016 #CommonRead Book!

Virginia Wesleyan College has selected Lydia Netzer’s How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky for their 2016 Common Read program.

Over the summer, all incoming students are expected to purchase the book from the VWC campus bookstore or an online retailer. Students will read the book before arriving on campus on August 25 for orientation.

The first two days of orientation, August 25 and 26, will be devoted to all-campus discussions of How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky. Students will engage in small group discussions with other students and their First-Year Experience professor. They will also attend a convocation session in which four faculty members will share their own perspectives on the book. Additionally, students are expected to complete a 200-300 word reflection on their favorite passage from How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by August 25. This assignment—submitted to the First-Year Experience professor—is meant to provide the professor with an understanding of the student as a thinker and a writer.

Each year, Virginia Wesleyan College’s Common Read program chooses a book to be read by incoming students, faculty, and staff. This program aims to promote an intellectual experience shared by faculty and students, provide incoming students with an introduction to college-level work, and enable students to examine a literary work from different disciplinary perspectives.

Click here for more information on other Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky • St. Martin’s Griffin • 368 pages

MAKE YOUR HOME AMONG STRANGERS is UMass Amherst’s 2016 #CommonReading Book!

myhas20umass20cover-finalThe University of Massachusetts Amherst has selected Jennine Capó Crucet’s Make Your Home Among Strangers for their 2016 Common Read program!

All incoming first-year and transfer students will receive a customized UMass Amherst version of Make Your Home Among Strangers when they attend their New Students Orientation (NSO) session during the summer. International students and students who are unable to attend the orientation session will receive a copy of the book at orientation in September.

Students will be expected to take part in class discussions about many of the novel’s central themes, including race, immigration, and socioeconomic class. The goals of UMass Amherst’s Common Read program are to engage students in connecting with their fellow community members, to introduce them to the intellectual culture of their campus community, and to help them reflect on significant topics that they will be discussing during their time at UMass Amherst. The school hopes that in-class discussions on Make Your Home Among Strangers‘s themes will spark a wider conversation on the question of what makes campus another home, as well as on how a diversity of perspectives and experiences enhances innovation.

Beyond the classroom, Jennine Capó Crucet will visit UMass Amherst for a five-day campus residency this fall, from September 25-29, 2016. A week-long series of events related to the novel will coincide with Crucet’s residency, including a keynote speech on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. The complete list of events can be found here.

Make Your Home Among Strangers was chosen through an extensive selection process. There were initially 24 book nominees from the campus community, which the book selection committee then narrowed down to three finalists. The three remaining books were read by more than 240 students, faculty, and staff. Make Your Home Among Strangers was ultimately selected because it depicts a wide range of subjects that will connect with a diverse student body, and it is especially telling of the experiences of first-generation college students and students of color.

Click here to see the other schools that have adopted Make Your Home Among Strangers. Visit our Popular Picks for more common reading options from Macmillan!

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

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!

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!