Common Reading Program

2011-12 Overview

Program Description and Goals

New first-year students received a copy of the selected text during your Advising and Registration Days session, giving you the opportunity to read the book by the start of your first semester at St. Cloud State. The purpose of this program is to provide a common academic experience for all new first-year students, which integrates both curricular and co-curricular activities throughout the year. In addition to book talks with faculty, staff, upper-class students and community members at your New Student Orientation in August, many of you will use the book in at least one class you take during your first year, and all of you will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of programs throughout 2011-12 related to the book and issues it raises.

Your participation in the common reading program will:

  • introduce you to the nature of collegiate academic life.
  • cultivate a sense of community with your new home at SCSU.
  • help you develop connections with faculty and staff and other students at the university.
  • get you involved in campus activities with related programs and events.
  • enrich your classroom experience with an shared intellectual experience that cuts across courses and co-curricular opportunities.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianAbout the Book

Your Common Read 2011-12 is National Book Award winner, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Alexie’s novel is a coming of age tale that tackles socially relevant issues such as poverty, the importance of family and community, and racism and white privilege. It also tells us a tale of the strength of the human spirit and shows us the journey of one boy’s courage to be different.

This book will open the doors to rich conversations you will experience as a college student at St. Cloud State University.

About the Author

Sherman Alexie is an award-winning author, poet, and filmmaker. He has been named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists and has been lauded by The Boston Globe as "an important voice in American literature."


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