SHSU choses common reader for Fall 2023

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Mar. 28—For the last 15 years, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has challenged administrators, professors and students to have a shared academic experience through the Common Reader Program.

The goals are to facilitate a campus wide cross-disciplinary conversation as it relates to the selected book. The study will begin Fall 2023 when each student will be given a book.

This year's selection is The Anthropocene Reviewed — Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green.The Anthropocene is the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity.

In this symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, Green reviews different facets of the human-center planet on a five star scale.

Following the selection by a specialized committee who start with a large number of books, that are scored and narrowed down to one.

The selection is finalized based on author availability and cost because the author will come to campus and discuss their work.

The Anthropocene Reviewed is the shared name for a podcast by the author.

The podcast started in January 2018, with each episode featuring Green reviewing "different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale". The name comes from the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch that includes significant human impact on the environment.

The podcast episodes typically contain Green reviewing two topics, accompanied by stories on how they have affected his life.

These topics included intangible concepts like humanity's capacity for wonder, artificial products like Diet Dr. Pepper, natural species that have had their fates altered by human influence like the Canada goose, and phenomena that primarily influences humanity such as Halley's Comet.

The podcasts were the beginnings for the book.

John Green is the award-winning, bestselling author of books including Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down.

His books have received many accolades, including a Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and an Edgar Award. Green has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

At the end of the Common Reader semesters, SHSU facilitators hope the students develop some core skills to include, critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving, academic skills, landing a new job, community engagement, emotional intelligence, analytical thinking, and social justice.

Campus-wide professors and staff will have the opportunity to have impromptu conversations with the students and share their perspective and analytical insight on the book, which creates a 360 degree learning experience. There will be scholarship events and contests for the students.

"The professors in all departments are given a recommended curriculum of suggested activities to transition the selected book into class studies," said Emily Binetti, M.A. Associate Director for Integrated Marketing Communications. "We hope the community will join us in the fall when we begin this new read. Creative events centered on the book will be planned by several departments, which the community will be able to attend."

Some of the prior books selected by the committee are Sitting Pretty by Rebekah, Counting Descent by Clint Smith, American Like Me by America Ferrera, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Green lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana. Find more about John Green online at