New options for freshman summer reading

They may or may not know it, but the incoming freshman have summer reading in their future!

Jake Stratman, assistant professor of English, and his league of book-choosing accomplices narrowed the list down to the final five books. From these, students will choose at least one to literarily devour.

The Final Five:

Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton: This book, set in South Africa, is an exposition on the realities of the apartheid and how very different perceptions of truth can be. Two men of two different colors will lose their sons. One son a murderer and the other murdered. The anguish of these two men lead them into further truth, and their choice to join together in the end brings a sense of hope for South Africa.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok: The story of friendship, pain and baseball. The Chosen takes place in New York during the mid-twentieth century. The book journeys through six years of turbulence and misunderstandings for the two protagonist Jews. Not only does their friendship take a beating, but the tragedies of the Holocaust really come to light, President Roosevelt dies and Israel fights for creation.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: A work of nonfiction, Unbroken is the biographical story of Louis Zamperini. Not only was this man a World War II hero, but he was also an Olympic track runner and a plane wreck survivor. As if that were not enough, Zamperini topped off his resume of heroics with a stint of two and a half years as a prisoner of war in not one, but several Japanese internment camps.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore: This is a book of unlikely friendship. The two co-authors of this non-fiction book were brought together by Hall’s feisty little wife. Through her dedication to befriending and loving Moore, Hall learned not only how to love Jesus better, but what it looks like to love others like Jesus.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Written in Germany during the Nazi regime in which Bonhoeffer was teaching in an underground seminary, Life Together is a sort of Pauline epistle about the practicalities of living out the Christian life in families and groups. Some of the themes of the book are community worship, work, personal prayer and service.

If it is not obvious from their descriptions, the books for the upcoming fall semester are based around the theme: “Who is my neighbor?”

Stratman and his team “hope to introduce students to both the academic life but also the intellectual life of reading and thinking about reading,” he said.

Team Reading plans to encourage this process through lecture series that will continue on into the semester in which students can discuss their thoughts and what the implications are of them.

The hope is that students of all years will choose to join in, read and come willing to engage with the new students. They will be your neighbors, after all.