Common Reading Voting Begins

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Through March 31, students and members of the community can submit their vote for the book that they would like to see become the 2014–2015 Shepherd common reading selection.

According to Betty Ellzey, professor of English and chair of the department of English and modern languages, the common reading program “prepares incoming first-year students for analysis of literature, history, politics, culture or other fields at the college level.” Also, the program “affords a sense of community…since they have all read the same book,” said Ellzey.

There are five book choices for the 2014–2015 common reading vote.

Raymond Bonner’s “Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong” is a book focused on injustice in the American justice system. The book follows an ambitious young attorney in her attempt to free a wrongly convicted death row inmate.

“Still Alice” by Lisa Genova is a novel concentrated on a middle-aged Harvard professor who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She begins to forget herself and those around her, and the novel conveys the struggles of Alzheimer’s disease from a first-person perspective.

Ann Jones’ “They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars: The Untold Story” uses Jones’ own firsthand reporting of Afghanistan to convey the stories of America’s wounded. Jones’ reporting attempts to bring to words the reality that is war.

“When the Emperor Was Divine” by Julie Otsuka tackles the realities of the Japanese internment camps of America’s past. Written from five differing points-of-view, this novel brings to light the emotional suffering of the Japanese-Americans who were uprooted from their homes.

“I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai follows a young Pakistani girl in her attempt to speak up for her rights. The novel tracks Malala’s journey from a near-fatal head wound to becoming the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“All of these books are available at the Scarborough Library or can be purchased through Four Seasons Bookstore in Shepherdstown,” said Shannon Holliday, common reading program coordinator. “You’re encouraged to read them all and vote for the one you feel would make the best common reading!”

Students, faculty, and community members can vote for the common reading book on the Shepherd University homepage. The link entitled “2014–15 Common Reading Voting” can be found under the “Hot Topics” banner near the middle of the homepage.

“We want students to be the major influence in this process, and voting is the best way to let your voice be heard,” said Holliday.

Colleen Callahan, a junior English major, stated, “I vote every time because I always hope that the one I want gets chosen.” Callahan added that the program “brings the campus together…especially the freshmen.”

New to the common reading program, Amber Stenson, a senior education major, added, “I’d vote for it…especially if it only takes a couple of seconds.”

The winning book for the 2014–2015 Common Reading will be announced on April 1.