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The College Reads!

The College Reads! is the College of Charleston’s campus-wide common reading program designed to connect students, faculty, and staff around a single book to promote the idea that liberally educated people read broadly and discuss with one another ideas arising from the books they share.  All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book. Additional copies are made available for borrowing and sharing widely across campus.

2017-2018 Book Selection

Big Thirst Cover

The College Reads selection for 2017-2018 is The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman. 

Fishman’s purpose in writing The Big Thirst is to explore humanity’s relationship to water. While water remains plentiful in the world, it is unappreciated and therefore subject to myths and mismanagement. Forty percent of the world lacks easy access to water or walks some distance to get water. Those tasked with getting their families water—usually women and girls—have little time for anything else. In the United States, cities and towns struggle to manage drought-imposed rationing and water shortages. Flint, Michigan, provided a particularly noteworthy case of water quality issues, but such cases are not limited to Flint or to lead contamination. In the Charleston Metropolitan area, new industry places increased demands on the local aquifer, as recent news accounts have suggested.

As an investigative journalist, Fishman delves into the complexities of water use and misuse with statistics and well-told stories from Las Vegas to India to an IBM computer chip factory in Vermont. In the end, he challenges each of us to know more and to think more about water—the most familiar substance in our live s. I enjoyed reading this work, and I believe many of you will do so as well.

The Big Thirst was selected in support of our QEP on Sustainability Literacy’s inaugural theme: Water. The College Reads, the QEP, and departments and programs across campus will collaborate to provide a rich array of lectures, films, activist projects, and discussions throughout the academic year. The book’s author, Charles Fishman, will be on campus November 6 and 7. His public lecture will be Tuesday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m. in Sottile Theater.

All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book. Additional  copies are made available for borrowing and sharing widely across campus. All faculty and incoming students are encouraged to read this selection as it will be connected to the academic curriculum and campus activities throughout the year.  

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