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'Americanah' is 2014-2015 Penn State Reads Book

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Americanah book cover

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion–for each other and for their homeland.


About Penn State Reads

Penn State Reads is designed to provide a shared experience among new students, encourage intellectual engagement within and beyond the classroom, stimulate critical thinking, and foster a deeper connection to Penn State's mission and core values. First-year students at the University Park campus will receive a complimentary copy of the book at New Student Orientation. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to read the book and participate in the related planned events. Several campuses are also participating in a pilot of the program using the same text.

First-year students are asked to read the book before returning to campus for classes in August. Throughout the year, they will have an opportunity to attend featured lectures, participate in class conversations, attend programming in Residence Halls, and engage with other first-year students in dialogue about the concepts introduced in the book.

If you have specific questions about Penn State Reads, future book suggestions, or programming ideas please contact us at