Common Summer Book
New College has a tradition of providing a common summer book for all of the in-coming students. Knowing that the summer between high school and college can be stressful, (and knowing that you are currently living a life between boxes and suitcases, with lists upon lists upon lists), this is a brief moment to cut through the clutter and focus on what the whole transition is about -- college, ideas, and expanding your world and your perspective.
We choose the book collaboratively. Faculty, staff, and students all suggest books that they think are appropriate. We then run a January ISP (a class offered during the January term) where students first choose six books that the class will read during the term. They then speak to members of the college community about the value of the book, interview participants in the first-year book program at other colleges and universities, and, together, reach a consensus on the book for the year.
The students unanimously chose the play, Clybourne Park (2011) by Bruce Norris. It was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2011 and is very much informed by Lorraine Hansberry’s important play, Raisin in the Sun. The Pulitzer board identified the play as “a powerful work whose memorable characters speak in witty and perceptive ways to America's toxic struggle with race and class consciousness."