Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do?
Read the book before the start of fall semester.
Think about overall themes in relation to current news or in historical context and jot down your thoughts or questions.
Discuss your opinion with classmates and professors.
Why should I read the book?
The book is part of the first-year experience at Penn State and is required reading in some classes. Additionally, it is discussed at different events and in conversations with students, staff, and faculty throughout the year.
The book provides an opportunity for the members of the incoming class to begin the year building common experiences.
How do I get a copy of the book?
A voucher is given to all first-year students at New Student Orientation. Take the voucher to the Penn State Bookstore on campus in the HUB-Robeson Center to redeem a complimentary copy of the book. Copies are also available at the Penn State Universities Libraries.
What are the goals of 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.
How is the book selected?
A steering committee reviews numerous books and then narrows the list of nominations to a short list of five or six titles. These books are then reviewed by faculty, staff, and students. Their responses to the book inform the final selection. Faculty, staff, and students can nominate books for consideration at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A call for nominations is extended through the Penn State University Newswire.
What if I don't like the book?
We do not expect that everyone will like the book choices. Books should be provocative and should stimulate conversations and ideas, but we do not necessarily need to agree with or like everything we read.
About the Author and Book
"Why would anyone in his or her right mind leave the comfort of middle-class America or Europe to document the savagery inflicted by Islamic terrorists on any Western hostage they can get their hands on? Or to witness the sadistic mutilation of rival factions' women in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo?"Carol J. Williams, The Los Angeles Times
"The book begins dramatically in Libya on 15 March 2011, with a description of the moment when the car Addario was travelling in with four companions – her friend and fellow photographer Tyler Hicks, two journalists, Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell, and their driver, Mohammed ... So began a nightmare that included beatings, death threats and, in Addario’s case, sexual molestation by her captors, before they were released a few days later."Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian