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Common Reading

2018 Common Reading Program

The Common Reading Program is a chance for every new student to start PLU with a shared academic experience. The 2018 Common Reading Book is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Alumni are invited to follow along and take part in the upcoming events associated with the Common Reading.

How the book was chosen:

The Common Reading Selection Committee gathers faculty, staff, and students from across campus, all of whom together seek out books with themes that will allow students and faculty to have academic discussion from a variety of disciplinary lenses.  The committee has a particular interest in finding books that speak to themes of diversity, social justice, sustainability, and/or ideas of difference.  It was decided to continue to focus on issues of race and inclusion in concert with PLU’s commitment to Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability. In light of the current national political climate, we decided that this was not the time to pull back but instead to press forward with the university’s ongoing commitment to campus wide conversations on race and social justice.

For both the 2017 and 2018 Common Reading book, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates was chosen.  “Between the World and Me” is unquestionably a standoutwork of literature that is complex and lyrical in nature.  The committee would like to uplift and highlight the following themes in Between the World and Me:  (1) how cultural frameworks create and define race, (2) the transformative power of a sense of belonging and deep connection to a community, (3) the power of narrative to create social change, (4) family relationships and their influence on a person growing into adulthood.

It is also at times a difficult book that challenges deeply held beliefs across the political spectrum.  Students and faculty both rose to the challenge so completely that 2017 showed the highest engagement with a Common Reading text to date.  That engagement sparked a continued interest in the faculty at large, and so we have returned to “Between the World and Me” for 2018.

Upcoming Events

Callista Brown Common Reading Lecture, featuring speaker Earl Lovelace
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 25
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Mary Baker Russell Music Center, Room 330

Watch the lecture via livestream here.

About the Speaker

The Callista Brown Common Reading Lecture will feature speaker and author Earl Lovelace. For more information about Mr. Lovelace’s biography, work, and achievements, please visit the Common Reading Lecture website.

``Between the World and Me`` Faculty Panel

Discussion Guide

Follow the prepared reading and discussion guide for ``Between the World and Me.``

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Attend the Callista Brown Common Reading Lecture on September 25.

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Common Reading Program

Find out more about PLU's Common Reading Program.

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