Common Read 2013 - 2014

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Contact & Location

Moscow

General Education

Rodney Frey
Director, General Education
Phinney Hall 116
(208) 885-6268
rfrey@uidaho.edu

Kris Roby
Student Advising 
Admin. Bldg. 117
(208) 885-7765
core-curriculum@uidaho.edu

Common-Read-Girl-Reading

Common Read

Purpose

The Common Read is a program designed to engage the university and Moscow community, its students, staff, faculty and community members, in a unified intellectual activity.  For first-year students it introduces them to academic expectations, respectful discourse, and community building.   First-year students will be asked to read the book as part of their ISEM 101 Integrated Seminar requirements.  The Common Read book is available through the U of I VandalStore - Bookstore.

This is a program sponsored through the General Education program, supported by the Office of Student Affairs, and a host of faculty, staff and student members on the Common Read Committee.  

Common Read: 2013-14

The University of Idaho is excited to announce our Common Read for 2013-2014, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook.  

  • The author, Barry Estabrook, will be giving a keynote address on the Moscow campus, Thursday, October 3, 2013, at 7:00 pm in the Student Union Ballroom.   Free and the general public is welcome.
  • On Friday, October 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm in Ag Science Room 106, please join a panel discussion made up of Idaho agriculture industry executives for a discussion with Barry Estabrook on topics of farm and food issues.
  • On Thursday, October 10, 2013, at 7:00 pm in the Commons Clearwater/Whitewater Room, please join us for a panel discussion of Estabrook's Tomatoland.  Panelists include: Eric Anderson (University of Idaho Career Center), John Foltz (Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), Jodi Johnson-Maynard (Associate Professor, Soils/Water Management and Organic Farming), and Jesse Martinez  (CAMP Assistant Director).
  • On Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm in the Student Union Ballroom, as part of Farmworker Awareness Week and as a follow-up for our Common Read, we are pleased to announce a keynote address by Gerardo Reyes, from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Reyes and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers were a central topic of Tomatoland. This will be great opportunity for a critical follow-up for your students, learning further on the conditions of migrant workers and an update on initiatives addressing their situation and “our most alluring fruit.”


All first-year students are asked to purchase a copy, available at the U of I VandalStore - Bookstore, along with other bookstores and publication outlets.  When first-year students take their ISEM 101 Integrative Seminar, be it Fall Semester or Spring Semester, they will be involved in a class discussion of the book and asked to write a short reflective essay on Tomatoland.   Paperback at $15.99.

Tomatoland combines history, legend, passion for taste, and investigative reporting on modern agribusiness and environmental issues into a revealing, controversial look at the tomato, the fruit we love so much that we eat $4 billion-worth annually.  It is the 2012 IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Award Winner in the Food Matters category.  For more information on the book.

Common Read: 2014-15

The University of Idaho is excited to announce our Common Read for 2014-2015 will be Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen.

The author, Bich Minh Nguyen, will be giving a keynote address on the Moscow campus, Monday, September 22nd at 7 pm in the International Ballroom of the Student Union Building. The talk is free and the general public is welcome. You can order the book online from the VandalStore or purchase it in your home town.

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, and in the pre-PC-era Midwest (where the Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme), the desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic- seeming than her Buddhist grandmother's traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled "delicacies" of mainstream America capture her imagination.

In, the glossy branded allure of Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House Cookies becomes an ingenious metaphor for Nguyen's struggle to become a "real" American, a distinction that brings with it the dream of the perfect school lunch, burgers and Jell- O for dinner, and a visit from the Kool-Aid man. Vivid and viscerally powerful, this remarkable memoir about growing up in the 1980s introduces an original literary voice and a new spin on the classic assimilation story.

Stealing Buddha's Dinner received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center, was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2007, a BookSense pick, and a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book.  It was also selected as a common read selection within numerous communities and universities, including the all-state Great Michigan Read for 2009-2010.  

Nguyen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and has taught fiction and creative nonfiction in the MFA Program at Purdue University and the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco.  She and her family recently moved to the Bay Area.

Additional events to be announced.

All first-year students are asked to purchase a copy, available at the U of I VandalStore - Bookstore, along with other bookstores and publication outlets.  When first-year students take their ISEM 101 Integrative Seminar, be it Fall Semester or Spring Semester, they will be involved in a class discussion of the book and asked to write a short reflective essay on Stealing Buddha's Dinner.   Paperback at $15.00.

Nominations: 2015-16

We are now seeking nominations for Fall - Spring 2015-16.  Deadline for nominations is Monday December 8, 2014.  The Common Read committee is seeking nominations of books, regardless of genre, that accomplishes the following:

  • Promotes engagement on a topic relevant to the university community and especially incoming first-year students.  The topic should be of broad interest across the university and Moscow community.
  • Given the breadth of audience, the book should be accessible, enjoyable, engaging, yet challenging
  • Provides an opportunity to inspire students intellectually to learn, engage and lead, to take “ownership” of their University of Idaho educational experience in critical and creative ways.
  • Provides diverse points of view, experiences, or other content that would promote sustained discussion.
  • Provides multi-disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective, allowing students, staff and faculty from differing academic disciplines to find points of intellectual convergence and integration as they address the topic of the book.
  • Addresses the five University of Idaho Learning Outcomes.   See "Resources for Faculty."
  • Holds the possibility that the author of the book (or someone closely associated with the book) would come to the Moscow campus and give a keynote address or presentation on the book.  Presentations given in association with the Common Read would be free and open to the public.

Past selections have included works of fiction, history, race and culture, economics, and political discourse.  See Past Common Reads

If you have a book in mind, please send your nomination to commonread@uidaho.edu.   Include in your nomination a synopsis of why you think this book is appropriate for the Common Read, addressing each of the criteria listed above.  Also include: Book Title, Author, Publisher, Year Published, Paperback Option, Cost, Awards, Name of nominator and contact information.