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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.

2018-2019 Book Selection

The College Reads! committee is pleased to announce the 2018 book:  The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins, 2017).

“Every so often,” writes Salon editor Erin Keane, “the right book comes along at the right time and quite deservedly catches fire.” Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give is a compelling coming-of-age story featuring Starr Carter, a 16-year old girl expertly occupying two worlds—she lives her family in Garden Heights, a neighborhood where rival gangs keep most residents inside; she attends school at Williamson Prep, a suburban mostly white high school.  When Starr is the only witness to her childhood friend Khalil’s fatal shooting by a white police officer, the boundaries she has crafted fray and she has hard choices to make.the hate you give cover

Angie Thomas’s debut novel is a highly nuanced, complicated, readable story that confronts institutional racism, personal prejudice, discrimination, gun violence, community coherence and family, social justice, and activism through the eyes and first-person voice of a young adult. “I wanted to make this as personal as possible, so that people can understand why so many of us are so hurt and so angry,” Ms. Thomas said.

We are very excited about this selection. The committee chose this book for several reasons. First, the committee wanted to support the QEP by selecting a book with a social justice theme. We read widely on the subjects of housing, poverty, rural isolation, ideological diversity, Hispanic and Native American issues, race, immigration, migration, unemployment, and political displacement/anger. In thinking about how a book might open conversations most important to students on our own campus, the committee’s interest solidified around themes of race, identity, and social justice. The Hate U Give is new and appears on several “best of” lists for 2017. Angie Thomas is in high demand as a speaker. The book is the basis for a major motion picture scheduled for release sometime next fall. The genre of the book is formally Young Adult literature, appropriate for age 14 to adult.  The Hate U Give has been on The New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Best Seller List for 55 weeks. The committee wrestled with the YA “label” since The College Reads is a campus-wide common reading program designed to engage our entire community in a shared conversation. However, our ongoing challenge is to convince students (and faculty/staff colleagues) to read the book—the entire book—and we believe that The Hate U Give will be an easy sell in that regard even though the topics are challenging. We hope you will agree.  Finally, Angie Thomas is a young, African American, female author born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. It is important to the committee to reflect diversity among authors as well as in the content of the books selected.

Angie Thomas will be on campus Monday, October 15, 2018. She will spend the day meeting with students, faculty, and staff. Her public lecture, “The Hate U Give: Finding Your Activism and Turning the Political into the Personal,” is free and open to all. That event will also be Monday, October 15 at 7:00pm in Sottile Theatre. 

All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book. Alternate formats of the book are available.  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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