BOONE, N.C. — The Common Reading Program at Appalachian State University announces its 2020–21 book selection: “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore” (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Elizabeth Rush — a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist in general nonfiction.
“Rush’s creative nonfiction approach makes real and palpable the numerous implications of sea level rise due to climate change,” said Dr. Don Presnell, director of the Common Reading Program. “In place of statistical charts and tables, the author crafts a series of short narratives that illustrate how rising waters are not discerning in how they indelibly and inevitably affect people and places, history and time.”
Each academic year, the Common Reading Program committee selects a book that will promote and guide intellectual, interdisciplinary interactions and discussions among all incoming first-year and transfer students, who receive a copy of the book during their Summer Orientation session. The yearlong Common Reading experience will include a variety of activities, speakers and events.
“While the Common Reading selection is a required component of First Year Seminar courses, we also want colleges, departments and faculty across the university to integrate the book into their curricula and disciplines so that all Appalachian students can participate in and share a common reading and intellectual experience,” Presnell said.
He added, “‘Rising’ will resonate with readers on a number of levels — especially since 2020 represents the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.”
From the publisher’s review: “With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change is neither imagined nor distant — and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In ‘Rising,’ Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area.”
Rush, who will visit Appalachian’s campus in September, will deliver a main address and also appear at other events, including a reading and book signing.
In addition to “Rising,” Rush is the author of “Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon.”
Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and the New Republic, among others.
She holds an MFA in nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University and currently teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.
Visit the Common Reading website to learn more about the program and the 2020–21 selection.
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About the Common Reading Program at Appalachian
Since 1997, incoming first-year students at Appalachian State University have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to the university. By participating in the Common Reading Program, students establish a common experience with other new students that will help develop a sense of community with their new environment and introduce them to a part of the academic life they are beginning at Appalachian. This program is an exciting facet in Appalachian's orientation of new students to life on campus. Learn more at https://commonreading.appstate.edu/about.
About University College
Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and student support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at https://universitycollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.