UM Common Reading Experience 2019: Evicted

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Melissa Dennis
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Common Reading News

About the CRE

The Common Reading Experience began with the 2011-2012 school year with the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This tradition of using one book to unite discussions broadly across the incoming class continues. Every first-year student receives a copy of the selected text at orientation to finish before the school year begins in August. Instructors from the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, First-Year Experience, and others then utilize the text in their classes to relate discussions around themes from the book in a cross-disciplinary manner. Events are planned to inspire learning outside of the classroom. The Common Reading Experience aspires for an enriched sense of academic community through a communal reading of the text. 

Previous Common Read Selections

William Faulkner's Collected Stories Book Cover 2018 Collected Short Stories by William Faulkner

This magisterial collection of short works by Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner reminds readers of his ability to compress his epic vision into narratives as hard and wounding as bullets. Among the 42 selections in this book, participants in the 2018 UM Common Reading Experience were asked to focus on these ten particular classics: "The Brooch," "A Rose for Emily," "Two Soldiers," "Barn Burning," "Hair," "Dry September," "Uncle Willy," "Shall Not Parish," "That Evening Sun," and "Mule in the Yard." Go to the Guide


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