The front cover of the book Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. A sketch of an african american man with his hand on his head laughing while looking at another smaller african american figure in the lower right hand corner of the page. A bright blue background.Like similar public reading initiatives sponsored by cities, libraries, and television and radio shows, campus common reading programs rest on a simple idea: that reading the same book brings people closer together as a community by creating common ground for discussion. Assigning a book during the summer gives incoming students, who often come from very different backgrounds, a shared experience. At the same time, moderated discussions of the reading can bring the diversity of student viewpoints to the fore and provide an occasion for modeling the intellectual engagement with different ideas that is expected in college.

This year's reading is Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah. Born a Crime  is the autobiographical story of Trevor Noah, a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. Noah’s personal essays weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love. (adapted from Spiegel & Grau/Random House) Read more at: http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/537515/

All first year students will be sent a e-copy of book and  are expected to have completed the reading prior to their arrival on campus in the fall. Small group discussions and large group activities regarding the topics covered in Born a Crime will take place during New Student Orientation (NSO).