Common Readings Archive

2018 // José David Saldívar // Professor of Comparative Literature

Theme: Globality & Migration

  • Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
  • Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I'm Dying
  • Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World

2017 // Noah Diffenbaugh // Professor of Earth System Science

Theme: Sustainability & Equity

  • Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
  • Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

2016 // Elizabeth Tallent // Professor of English

Theme: Crisis & Connection

  • NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names
  • Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell
  • Justin Torres, We the Animals

2015 // John Hennessy // President of Stanford University

Theme: Resilience

  • Walter Isaacson, The Innovators
  • Tobias Wolff, This Boy’s Life
  • Lalita Tademy, Cane River

2014 // Persis Drell // Dean of the School of Engineering and Professor of Physics

Theme: Science

  • Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats
  • Richard A. Muller, Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines
  • Lauren Redniss, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

2013 // Nicholas Jenkins // Associate Professor of English

Theme: Home

  • Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Outsourced Self
  • Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding
  • Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father

2012 // Mark Applebaum // Associate Professor of Music

Theme: What is Art?

  • Michael Kimmelman, “My Kid Could Paint That” video
  • Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta
  • Ge Wang, Smule app

2011 // Scott Sagan // Professor of Political Science

Theme: Ethical dilemmas in war and peace

  • Geraldine Brooks, March
  • Stephen Carter, The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama
  • Nathaniel Fick, One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer

2010 // Debra Satz // Professor of Philosophy

Theme: Social Inequities

  • Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
  • Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remains
  • Joyce Carol Oates, The Undesirable Table (From the collection “Will You Always Love Me?”)

2009 // Harry Elam // Professor of Drama, and Michele Elam, Professor of English and Program in African and African American Studies

Theme: Past & Present

  • Lan Samantha Chang, Hunger
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
  • Abraham Verghese, My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story

2008 // Andrea Lunsford // Professor of English

Theme: Youth & Self-Identity

  • Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons
  • Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  • ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

2007 // Kenneth Fields // Professor of English

  • Lucille Clifton, Good Woman
  • N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
  • Nancy Packer, Jealous Hearted Me

2006 // Tobias Wolff // Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor of English

  • Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • Julie Orringer, How to Breathe Underwater
  • Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

2005 // Hazel Markus // Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences

  • David Henry Hwang, M Butterfly
  • Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
  • Tobias Wolff, Old School

2004 // Steven J. Zipperstein // Faculty Director of Undergraduate Advising

  • Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
  • Richard Rodriguez, Brown
  • Danzy Senna, Caucasia