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The Common Reader Experience

The Common Reader is a program that requires all first-year students to read the same book prior to arriving to classes in the fall. The purpose of this program is to integrate you into the University learning community as early as possible. A shared learning experience is possible when students read a common text regardless of their major area of study. A common reading allows various experiences, reactions, and perspectives to be exchanged and discussed. All first-year students are expected to read the assigned book before arriving for fall classes.

This Year’s Common Reader

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by journalist and educator Rebecca Skloot, is the award-winning book chosen for fall 2012. The book tells the remarkable story of Henrietta Lacks’ life, illness, and death. While receiving medical treatment in 1951, samples of Mrs. Lacks’ cells were removed from her body without her permission. Hers were the first “immortal” human cells grown in culture and they were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncover secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb; help lead to important advances in cloning, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. She did not survive her illness but her cells lived on and have become the centerpiece for modern medical research.

More about this year's Common Reader

Past Common Readers

In the fall of 2011, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to save Civilization by Lester R. Brownwas the book of choice for the General Education Curriculum Committee. The book was selected to help students understand the personal and commitments necessary to address social problems and to accept responsibility for developing communities based on care and concern for others.

In the fall of 2010, the common reader chosen was Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times by Paul Roogat Loeb. The focal point of learning for students through this book was to understand the importance and power of engaged citizenship through stories about social activism, community organization, and advocacy.

In the fall of 2009, the award-winning book, The End of Poverty, by Jeffrey D. Sachs was chosen for Barry University’s students. The author explains the impacts of globalization and modern economic development. The book was chosen to help students understand the personal and social commitments necessary to alleviate poverty through well-researched facts and touching personal stories.

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