Readers sought for 2015-16 Penn State Reads program book selection

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Volunteer readers from the Penn State community are invited to take part in choosing the 2015-16 Penn State Reads common text.

The Penn State Reads steering committee collected book nominations earlier this year and narrowed the submissions to a short list of six books, including:

— “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World” by Russel Gold
— “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert
— “The Empathy Exams” by Leslie Jamison
— “Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation” by Dan Fagin
— “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
— “Hope on Earth: A Conversation” by Paul Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias

Anyone who would like to be a volunteer reader may sign out a book at the Education and Behavioral Sciences Library on the 5th floor of Pattee Library or 417 Old Main. Readers are asked to complete a short survey by Aug. 1, 2014, after they have read a book. Readers are not expected to read all of the books on the short list and may read as many books as they wish.

The Penn State Reads program, launched in 2013, runs complementary to Penn State’s New Student Orientation and supplies each first-year University Park campus student with a copy of the chosen book to facilitate a shared experience. Several other Penn State campuses also are participating in a pilot of the program using the same text.

Penn State Reads aims to encourage intellectual engagement within and beyond the classroom, stimulate critical thinking and foster a deeper connection to Penn State’s mission and core values. Concepts are introduced to incoming students at New Student Orientation during the summer, and events based upon the book’s themes, including a visit by the author, are planned throughout the school year. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read the book and participate in the events.

The steering committee is also welcoming nominations at any time for the 2016 selection. Nominations can be sent to

The Penn State Reads program chose “Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times,” by Eyal Press, to serve as the common text in the 2013-14 school year, the program’s inaugural year. “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — listed on The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2013 — was chosen for the 2014-15 incoming class.

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Last Updated May 12, 2016