Freshman Common Reading at Brooklyn College


About the Journal

Since 2004, each entering freshman class at Brooklyn College has participated in the Freshman Common Reading Project. English Faculty along with faculty from other disciplines select a text based on student and faculty nominations. In past years, students have read Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Lethem's Disappointment Artist, Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, Moustafa Bayoumi's How Does It Feel to Be A Problem?, Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, and Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

At registration, students are given copies of the book; at orientation, students meet in small groups with interested faculty from diverse disciplines for what is, in effect, students' first college-level literature discussion, a common intellectual experience that sets the stage for future development. The first two weeks of all freshman composition classes are devoted to discussion, analysis, and writing inspired by the book. A number of college-wide activities follow: the author is invited to address the freshman class; instructors select and submit the best student writing generated from this common reading for possible publication in the collection entitled Telling Our Stories, Sharing Our Lives; towards the end of the semester, students and faculty gather to honor the student authors and listen to their stories.

Click here to read reviews, criticism, and interviews.

Brooklyn College students of the class of 2021 will begin their college experience through the pre-freshmen reading of Trevor Noah's Born a Crime.

Students in English 1010 will have the opportunity to compose their own memoir, narrative, or critical responses to the common reading. The best of these efforts will be published in the annual freshman anthology Telling Our Stories, Sharing Our Lives.

Students should pick up copies of Born a Crime from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies office, 3208 Boylan Hall.

Faculty copies are available in the English Department, 2308 Boylan.