About the Common Reading Program
Sierra Nevada College Continues Common Reading Program for Fall 2013
Sierra Nevada College continues the One Book, One Campus program begun in fall 2009, with all incoming Fall 2013 students being asked to read Old School by author Tobias Wolff. One of Old School's many pleasures is the way it conveys the significance of literature to our lives, raising fundamental questions of who we are and how we live. As one of the English teachers in the book says, "One could not live in a world without stories… Without stories one would hardly know what world one was in."
Inspired by the popularity of book clubs, a growing number of college campuses are adopting common reading programs. The idea of a common reading selection rests on a simple idea: that reading the same book brings people together as a community by creating a common ground for discussion and intellectual growth. As Dr. Lynn Gillette, Sierra Nevada College President, explains, "For this program, our faculty select literature that reinforces our College’s core values of Sustainability, Liberal Arts, Entrepreneurial Thinking, and Professional Preparedness." Gillette goes on to note that SNC staff and faculty are encouraged to join the community of readers in order to provide a shared academic experience and to stimulate conversations across the campus. Copies of the book are available to faculty and staff, free of charge.
From the National Endowment for the Humanities
Tobias Wolff's Old School is the story of an ambitious, idealistic, and insecure teenager who makes a serious mistake and eventually inherits the consequences. Wolff's unnamed narrator seems so very real that it is hard at times to remember that the book is fiction. The gripping plot has the unpredictability of real life—by turns funny, alarming, satiric, and sad—as well as the moral weight of lived experience. Old School is the first Big Read selection to have been published in the twenty-first century. With writers like Tobias Wolff at work it's easy to be optimistic about the future of American literature.
This year we will be reading Tobias Wolff’s novel, Old School, a coming of age story in which a young man goes through the process of maturing from
adolescence to young adulthood. In addition, special events will be scheduled on campus that reinforce the book’s common themes and events. The author,
Tobias Wolff, creative writing professor at Stanford University, will be here on the SNC campus for a lecture and workshop on September 6-7.