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Common Reading Book - Library Resources: Overview

Since 1997, incoming freshmen at ASU have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to Appalachian State University. By participating in the Common Reading Program, students establish a shared experience with other new students.

Common Reading Program

“Appalachian’s Summer Reading Program provides an important common experience for entering freshmen, helps develop a sense of community with their new environment and introduces them to the academic rigor of college.”
- Former Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock

Common Reading Program Events

Common Reading Program Events

Listen to Stories

2017 Common Reading Book

The 2017 Common Reading Book is One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

One Amazing Thing book cover“One Amazing Thing” (Hyperion, 2010) is about nine people from different backgrounds who become trapped together by an earthquake for days, using storytelling to help them survive while they hope and pray for rescue. The book offers lessons for bridging cultural and ethnic diversity through storytelling; prompts discussions about prejudice, cultural misunderstanding, alienation and interpersonal communication; and offers inspiration for overcoming life’s obstacles.

As with Common Reading authors of past years, Divakaruni will speak on campus at Black and Gold Convocation. The 2017 Convocation, which is open to the public, will be on Aug. 21. She will appear at other events that day as well, including a discussion with faculty, a book reading and book signing. Event details will be announced soon at

Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her stories explore women, immigration, history, myth, magical realism and diversity. Her work has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and included in over 50 anthologies, including “The Best American Short Stories,” the “O. Henry Prize Stories” and the “Pushcart Prize Anthology.”

“We are enthused about the ways this book will engage the incoming first-year students,” said Dr. Martha McCaughey, director of the Common Reading Program. “From dialogue during Welcome Weekend and seeing the book’s author to discussions in their First Year Seminar and events throughout the year, the common reading will give first-year students an opportunity to experience a diversity of student viewpoints.”

Book Discussions

Book discussions of the 2017 Common Reading Book will take place across campus during Welcome Weekend (August, 2017).