Dear CI Friends

Thanks to everybody who submitted nominations for the Fall, 2015 Campus Reading Celebration Book.  The Task Force had a difficult time winnowing down five candidates from such a strong field, but we did so and now it is up to you to help us pick our campus-wide read. 

Voting ends Friday, April 3.

  • For more information about our nominees (presented in alphabetical order by author last name), please read on:

     Who We Be by Jeff Chang

    Who We Be remixes comic strips and contemporary art, campus protests and corporate marketing campaigns, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Trayvon Martin into a powerful and unusual history of racial progress in America.  Chang’s book was nominated for the NAACP Image Award; he currently serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

    “A new book by Jeff Chang is always a cause for celebration. His voice is unique, and his issues are our issues: this changing America, this complicated, polyglot future that some are already living in, while some are fighting to tear apart. Who We Be?is an important, timely book, and it's also a terrific read.” – Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk in Circles

    On the Bus with Rosa Parks by Rita Dove

    On the Bus with Rosa Parks is a dazzling collection of poems by the former Pulitzer Prize recipient and Poet Laureate of the United States.  Dove’s writing treats its readers to a panoply of human endeavor, shot through with the electrifying jazz of her lyric elegance.

    “Dove's brilliance – as with all great writers – is inextricable from her formal gifts: her poems effortlessly suggest grand narratives and American myths, yet ground themselves tersely in localities, characters, practicalities and particulars.” – Publishers Weekly

    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

    We are Completely Beside Ourselves was inspired in part by a real-life experiment in the 1930s, in which two scientists tried to raise a baby chimpanzee in their home as if she were human, alongside their own child.  Fowler’s bestselling novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Awarded the Faulkner Award, and Listed as the NYT’s 100 Most Notable Books of 2013.

    “A novel so readably juicy and surreptitiously smart, it deserves all the attention it can get . . . This is a story of Every family in which loss engraves relationships, truth is a soulful stalker and coming-of-age means facing down the mirror, recognizing the shape-shifting notion of self.” – The New York Times

    The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

    The Distance Between Us describes the author’s tumultuous childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries, as her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side).  Grande’s memoir was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of a dozen other awards at the regional and national levels. 

    “A brutally honest book…akin to being the “Angela’s Ashes” of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.” – LA Times

    Citizen by Claudia Rankine

    Citizen recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media – from seeming slips of the tongue to intentional offensives in the classroom.  Rankine’s book uses essay, image, and poetry as a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

    “Accounts of racially charged interactions, insidious and flagrant, transpiring in private and in the public eye, distill the immediate emotional intensity of individual experience with tremendous precision while allowing ambiguity, ambivalence, contradiction, and exhaustion to remain in all their fraught complexity. . . . Once again Rankine inspires sympathy and outrage, but most of all a will to take a deep look at ourselves and our society.” – Publishers Weekly

Thanks much for your assistance,

Campus Reading Task Force
Sean Carswell
David Claveau
Matt Cook, Co-Chair
Georgina Guzman
Debora Hoffman
Jacon Jenkins, Co-Chair
Joan Peters
Marisol Rodarte
Sofia Samatar
Elizabeth Sowers
Zachary Valladon
Kimberly Rose