Gustavus Chooses Reading in Common Book

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by

Gustavus Adolphus College has selected Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford as its Reading in Common book for the 2010-11 academic year. The novel, according to one review, explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love.

This is the 11th 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 upperclass students during New Student Orientation to discuss it. New Student Orientation is also loosely based around the themes found in the book.

“I’m excited about this book choice, our first fiction work since 2005, because the writing style brings us back to the roots of the Reading in Common program at Gustavus,” said Director of Student Activities Megan Ruble. “Themes including parent/child relationships, adolescence, culture, personal and natural history, and transition should provide rich and relevant topics for first year student discussion during orientation. At the same time, I know the novel will also engage both the wider campus community and the public.”

Ford is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name “Ford.” He is an award-winning short-story writer, an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and a survivor of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Ford will come to Gustavus for a speaking appearance in either late September or early October.

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.

Copies of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet will soon be available for purchase in the Book Mark. For more information about the Reading in Common program at Gustavus, contact Ruble at 507-933-7597 or


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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