Committee Selects ‘The Book of Unknown Americans’ as 2020-21 U of I Common Read
April 16, 2020
MOSCOW, Idaho — April 16, 2020 — The University of Idaho has chosen “The Book of Unknown Americans” by Cristina Henriquez as its Common Read for 2020-21.
“The Common Read committee, composed of students, faculty and community members, were both engaged and moved by Ms. Henriquez’s novel and the journey of her characters seeking community and citizenship,” said Dean Panttaja, U of I’s director of General Education.
Goodreads.com calls the book “a dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status, a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl.”
“The Book of Unknown Americans” was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014 and one of Amazon’s Top 10 Books of the Year. It was the Daily Beast Novel of the Year, a Washington Post Notable Book, an NPR Great Read, a Target Book of the Month selection and was chosen one of the best books of the year by BookPage, Oprah.com and School Library Journal.
Now in its 13th year, the Common Read is designed to engage the university and Moscow community in a unified intellectual activity, Panttaja said. First-year students will be assigned to read the book as part of their first-year studies courses and in English 101 and 102, all part of the General Education program.
The Common Read is partially supported by the Judith Runstad Lecture Series, which annually helps sponsor a keynote address by the book’s author or someone closely associated with the book. Henriquez, who lives in Chicago, Illinois, will host a digital community conversation on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Other recent Common Reads and Runstad lecturers include: Anthony Doerr, author of “All the Light We Cannot See” in 2015; Sy Montgomery, author of “The Soul of an Octopus” in 2016;Carol Tavris, author of “Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)” in 2017;Tara Westover, author of “Educated; A Memoir” in 2018; and Tommy Orange, author of “There, There” in 2019.
Copies of “The Book of Unknown Americans” will be available later this spring through the VandalStore and BookPeople of Moscow.
Director, General Education
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu