Gustavus Chooses Reading in Common Book

Posted on May 9th, 2007 by

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The 2007-08 Reading in Common Book

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The 2007-08 Reading in Common Book

Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder

Gustavus Adolphus College has selected Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder as its Reading in Common book for 2007-08. A non-fiction narrative, the book follows Farmer from his work at Harvard University to work across the globe in Haiti, Russia, and other countries. The book is based on the Haitian proverb, “Beyond mountains there are mountains”— meaning when one problem is solved another one is presented.

This is the eighth year of the Reading in Common program at Gustavus. All first-year students are expected to read the chosen book during the summer and then meet with faculty members and upper class students during new student orientation to discuss it. The new student orientation is also loosely based around the themes found in the book.

“We expect passionate, engaged discussions on campus around the range of topics presented in the book,” said Director of Student Activities Megan Ruble.

Kidder is a Vietnam veteran and an award-winning author. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1982, both for his book The Soul of a New Machine. In 1989 Kidder was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, given annually to the book that best represents the values for which Kennedy stood. Kidder’s other works include House, Among Schoolchildren, and Home Town.

Books for the Reading in Common program are chosen based on their literary quality, reading manageability, interdisciplinary nature, and the author’s availability for a campus appearance. Either Kidder or Farmer will be visiting campus and speaking about the book during Fall Semester 2007.

“The committee of faculty, staff, and students overwhelmingly chose Mountains Beyond Mountains because it met all of our criteria and more,” Ruble said. “It’s an interesting and inspiring read, it’s interdisciplinary in nature, and it chronicles an amazing human experience.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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