Next year's Common Reading to explore transnational theme

An open book on a stack of books

Members of the campus community are encouraged to submit nominations for the 2018-19 Common Reading book selection by Wednesday, Nov. 1.

The 15-member selection committee recently picked the theme “transborder/transnational,” with the goal of finding a book that looks at the “problems, issues and concerns that transcend national borders or have a global political, health or economic impact.”

“This theme allows us to explore what it means to be a citizen today in a changing landscape of identity, nationhood and cultural tensions,” said Julie Voelker-Morris, Common Reading program faculty fellow. “How do we participate in dialogue, advocacy or activism across political and sociocultural differences?”

The Common Reading program began in 2009 in the Clark Honors College. It expanded to include all first-year students in 2014. The current reading is “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich.

Incoming students receive a copy of the selected book before the start of fall term. The book provides a shared starting point for community, curriculum and research.

“I have seen the types of conversation and inquiry that students bring to the classroom because they had the Common Reading over the summer,” Voelker-Morris said. “It has given them the expectation for the level of engagement and participation they will find in the classroom of a flagship research university.”

Book nominations should appeal to both faculty and first-year students, focus on a timely and topical subject, and offer multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary points for discussion, teaching, inquiry and research.

For more information and to nominate a book, visit