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The Common Read Program

One book enriching the lives of many on campus

The Common Read Program at Queens is a cross-campus, multidisciplinary experience; it enhances the Queens community by connecting students, staff and faculty through literature in a shared intellectual experience, inspiring curiosity and sparking conversation. We engage with meaningful texts of our time and provide a space for discourse. A Common Read can provide a shared language and shared experiences across classes, departments, offices, and other "pockets" of how we live and work on campus.

Campus-Wide Connections

Leading up to hosting the author of The Common Read selection, the Queens community plans events throughout the academic year intentionally connected to the selected book and its prevalent themes. The book is studied in courses by various academic perspectives—from sociology to foreign language studies to environmental science to business—so the opportunities are boundless. Timely discussions are woven in to bring our Queens community and the local community together.

2017-18 Common Read: Born to Run

The 2017-18 Common Read selection is Chris McDougall's Born to Run, a text that examines runners who push their bodies to the limit. This nonfiction work examines the lives of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury in sandals. In discovering their secrets, the author takes readers from science labs at Harvard to ultra-road races across America where runners push. A climactic race in Mexico pits some of America's best-known ultra-runners against the Tarahumara tribe, and the winner will surprise. The book will engage the mind and body when readers discover that we all, indeed, were born to run.

The community Common Read presentation is open to the public.

About the Author

Trained as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, Christopher McDougall covered wars in Rwanda and Angola before writing his international bestseller, Born to Run. His fascination with the limits of human potential led him to create the Outside magazine web series, "Art of the Hero." Born to Run is currently in development as a feature film starring Matthew McConaughey. Mr. McDougall will be on campus on March 19, 2018, for two presentations, and he will also lead students (and others) on a "fun run" in Myers Park. 

Selection Process

Each year, campus community members are invited to make suggestions about future Common Read selections using the following criteria:

  • Is appropriate in terms of readability and length (400 pages or less)
  • Is accessible to first year students
  • Offers perspectives from multiple academic disciplines, cultural perspectives or worldviews
  • Has literary quality (fiction or nonfiction)
  • Is rich in content and themes that encourage students and other campus readers to think critically
  • Has potential to spark discussion

A Common Read Committee evaluates and compares eligible options to determine which would provide an optimal experience for the campus community.

Contact Us

Have a question about The Common Read program? Reach out to Eric Shoaf, 704-337-2400.

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