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Common Reading Program

Common Reading Program

2016 Common Reading

All the Light We Canot See book coverAll the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

“Tackling questions of survival, endurance and moral obligations during wartime, the book is as precise and artful and ingenious as the puzzle boxes the heroine’s locksmith father builds for her. Impressively, it is also a vastly entertaining feat of storytelling.” —New York Times Book Review

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction; winner of the Australian International Book Award; a #1 New York Times bestseller; a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award; the 2014 Book of the Year at Hudson Booksellers; the #2 book of 2014 at; a LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites; named one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review; a best book of 2014 at Powell’s Books, Barnes & Noble, NPR’s Fresh Air, San Francisco Chronicle, The Week, Entertainment Weekly, the Daily Beast,, Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, the Oregonian, the Guardian, and Kirkus; and runner-up for 2015 the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

About the Common Reading Program

The common reading program at Case Western Reserve University provides a shared experience for incoming students as a way to build community on campus and to bring together a diversity of viewpoints for discussion both in and outside the classroom.

The Elaine G. Hadden Distinguished Visiting Author Fund supports presentations by the author of the book featured each year as the university's common reading.

The Common Reading Committee looks for works that:

  • Appeal to young adults
  • Address issues relevant to new college students
  • Prompt inquiry, reflection and discourse
  • Differ from usual high school reading assignments 

Past common reading selections include:

2015 - Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Mason Steele
2014 - Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz
2013 - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
2012 - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba
2010 - Bottlemania by Elizabeth Royte
2009 - Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
2006 - The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman

Common Reading Committee Members

Timothy Beal (Chair)
Florence Harkness Professor of Religion
Editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible

Eric Dicken (ex officio)
Senior Executive Director, Donor Relations, University Events and Presidential Protocol

Shannon French
Inamori Professor of Ethics
Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Peter E. Knox
Eric and Jane Nord Family Professor
Director, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities

Edwin B. Mayes (ex officio)
Director, First Year-Experience and Family Programs

James Sheeler
Shirley Wormser Professor of Journalism and Media Writing