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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 2016


These short (1-2 minute) tutorials are designed to help you get started with your research and familiarize you with library services and resources.

Finding Books
Help on finding books and other materials in the library catalog

Finding Articles
Using Library Databases to find articles

Search Strategy
Using Boolean logic; subject vs. keyword searching

Library Introduction in 90 Seconds
Orientation to Belk Library and Information Commons

2016 Common Reading Book

The Common Reading Book selection for 2016 is So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

So You've Been Publicly Shamed Book Cover

The Appalachian State Common Reading Committee is pleased to announce the Common reading selection for the 2016-17 academic year. The book is So You’ve Been Publically Shamed, by Jon Ronson.

Born in Wales in 1967, Ronson is a journalist and the author of a number of highly acclaimed and best-selling books, including The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test.

So You’ve Been Publically Shamed is Ronson’s most recent book; it begins with the author’s surprising discovery that a Twitter account had been started under his name without his knowledge or approval, and, that the account was continually active.  From there the book goes on to explore a number of questions arising from the public dimensions of social media, and, especially, how it reflects other forms of social control.

Critics have praised the book: Publisher’s Weekly calls it “clever and thought-provoking” and notes, “this book has the potential to open an important dialogue about faux moral posturing online and its potentially disastrous consequences.” The Huffington Post remarks that Ronson has an, “introspective and often funny lens” and that the book, “is an insightful, well-researched, and important text about how we react to others poor decisions," while Vulture magazine remarks that “with an introspective and often funny lens, [Ronson] tracks down those whose blunders have exploded in the public eye…So You've Been Publicly Shamed is an insightful, well-researched, and important text about how we react to others” on social media.

Over the next few months, Appalachian faculty and members of the Common Reading Committee will be assembling teaching aids and supplemental materials for Welcome Week book-discussion leaders and First Year Seminar instructors.

If you are university faculty or staff, and you would like to lead a book-discussion during Welcome Weekend on Saturday, August 13, 2016, please contact the Common Reading Program Director, Dr. Colin Ramsey, at ramseyct@appstate.eduno later than May 1, 2016. Convocation will be held on Monday, August 15, and it will feature a talk by Jon Ronson.

If you would like additional information about the book or its author, or, if you have other questions please contact:

Dr. Colin T. Ramsey
Director, Appalachian Common Reading Program
Associate Professor of English
Sanford Hall, ASU
Boone, NC  28692
Phone: 828-262-7390
Email: “

Book Discussions

Book discussions of So You've Been Publicly Shamed will take place across campus during Welcome Weekend on Saturday August 13, 2016.