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UM Common Reading Experience 2018: William Faulkner: Common Reading Experience

Don't Miss Our Common Reading Events

Read the Book and Join the Conversation

“I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” 
                                                                                                                                       ― William Faulkner, Nobel Prize in Literature Acceptance Speech, 1949


Fall Convocation: Dr. Jay Watson, Guest Speaker | Tuesday, August 21, 7:00 p.m. | The Pavilion

Friends, family and the community are invited to join us for Fall Convocation to meet this year's honored guest, Dr. Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies, as he discusses this year's Common Read: William Faulkner: Collected Stories. Bring your copy of the text to be signed after the ceremony. 

Faulkner Scavenger Hunt | Check back for a link to this fun self-guided tour of Oxford and the University of Mississippi through a Faulkner lens. 

So Easy Even a Child Can Do It: The Southern Gothic in Faulkner's "That Evening Sun" | Wednesday, September 12, 12:00 p.m. Archives & Special Collections, 3rd Floor, J.D. Williams Library

Dr. Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies, will talk about Faulkner's interesting approach to the Southern Gothic in the short story "That Evening Sun" from the Collected Stories. This is a brown bag event, so feel free to bring a lunch. 

Intruder in the Dust Film Screening | Wednesday, October 10, 7:00 p.m. | Room 126, Lamar Hall

Intruder in the Dust is a 1949 crime drama based on Faulkner's novel by the same name. Filmed partly on location in Oxford, this film closely follows the plot line of the Faulkner novel: telling the story of Lucas Beauchamp, a respectable and rich black man, who is unjustly accused of the murder of a white man.

Brown Bag Lecture with Jack Elliott and Jill Smith | Thursday, October 11, 12:00 p.m. | Archives & Special Collections, 3rd Floor, J.D. Williams Library

Jack Elliott (Faulkner Scholar) will discuss Faulkner research in North Mississippi and Jill Smith (Union County Museum) will discuss the Union County Museum in New Albany's special connection to Faulkner. This is a brown bag lecture, so feel free to bring your lunch!

Staged Reading: The Marionettes | Monday, October 22, 7:30 p.m. | Meek Auditorium 

Dr. Peter Wood (Theatre Arts) and a cast of UM faculty and students will present a staged reading of Faulkner's one-act play, The Marionettes. 

"Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?" John Maxwell One Man Show | Tuesday, October 30, 7:00 p.m. | Ford Center

John Maxwell performs this one man show is based on the life of William Faulkner. Included are recollections of Mr. Faulkner's days in Hollywood writing screenplays for Clark Gable and Howard Harks; stories about his family that are both hilarious and touching; an amusing and highly insightful "Question/Answer" session with an imaginary English class, and much more. The production ends with a wonderful offering of The Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech he delivered at Stockholm. It's a powerful evening of theatre and literature, entertainment and enlightenment!

Faulkner's Native American World: Fiction and Reality | Wednesday, November 7, 12:00 p.m. | Archives & Special Collections, 3rd Floor, J.D. Williams Library

Dr. Annette Trefzer (English) and Dr. Robbie Ethridge (Sociology & Anthropology) will lead a discussion about Faulkner's frequent return to the Native American origins and histories of his imaginary landscape, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. This is a brown bag lecture, so feel free to bring your lunch!


Previous CRE Titles

2017 Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Go to the Guide

  2016 Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is one of our most acclaimed and popular writers today. With Ten Little Indians, he offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love. Go to the Guide

2015 The Education of a Lifetime by Robert Khayat

An 1962, while a riot was in full swing on the University of Mississippi campus over the admission of James Meredith, Robert Khayat was an All-Pro kicker for the newly integrated Washington Redskins. He had no way of knowing that, thirty-five years later, he would be leading the University of Mississippi through one of its greatest challenges — its association with the Confederate flag. Robert Khayat’s The Education of a Lifetime reveals his childhood days in Moss Point, Mississippi; the state’s segregationist policies that prevented his SEC championship baseball team from playing in the College World Series; and the sadness of watching his father’s arrest. These seemingly disparate events worked to prepare him for his future battle with the vestiges of racial strife that continued to haunt Ole Miss’ culture when he was selected as the University’s fifteenth Chancellor. Go to the Guide

2014 Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of Women Who Helped Win World War II 

by Denise Kiernan

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, TN, was home to 75,000 residents, and consumed more electricity than New York City, yet it was shrouded in such secrecy that it did not appear on any map. Thousands of civilians, many of whom were young women from small towns, were recruited to this secret city, enticed by the promise of solid wages and war-ending work. What were they actually doing there? Very few know. The women who kept this town running would find out at the end of the war, when Oak Ridge's secret was revealed and changed the world forever. Go to the Guide

book cover 2013 The Unforgiving Minute  by Craig Mullaney

In this surprise bestseller, West Point grad, Rhodes scholar, Airborne Ranger, and U. S. Army Captain Craig Mullaney recounts his unparalleled education and the hard lessons that only war can teach. While stationed in Afghanistan, a deadly firefight with al-Qaeda leads to the loss of one of his soldiers. Years later, after that excruciating experience, he returns to the United States to teach future officers at the Naval Academy. Written with unflinching honesty, this is an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of war while coming to terms with what it means to be a man. Go to the Guide

book cover 2012 Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Edgar Award-winning author Tom Franklin returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades. Go to the Guide

book cover 2011 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. Go to the Guide

Common Reading Experience

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Melissa Dennis
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