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2014 Kent State Common Reading Book Announced

Posted Mar. 31, 2014
enter photo description
The Circle by Dave Eggers has been
selected as Kent State University's 2014
Common Reading book. All new Kent State
students will discuss the book with faculty,
staff or community members on Aug. 22
during Destination Kent State: Welcome

The Common Reading Committee and the Office of Student Success Programs is pleased to announce the selection of this year’s Kent State University Common Reading book, The Circle by Dave Eggers. Eggers is a well-known author whose works have received a significant amount of critical acclaim. He also is the co-founder of the literacy project 826 Valencia and the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition.

The book follows Mae Holland as she is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful Internet company. Holland feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Holland tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Holland cannot believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world — even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy and the limits of human knowledge.

The Common Reading Program is designed to welcome and connect incoming students to the Kent State academic community. The goal for reading the book is to provide common ground for new students to share with their peers. The objectives of the program are:

  • To help students get acclimated to the academic life of the university.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the university values, principles and standards.
  • To build and maintain relationships that foster success with peers, faculty, staff, administrators and community members.

All new students will discuss the book with faculty, staff or community members on Aug. 22 during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The program, as a whole, will build a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that will ease the transition to university life. The book will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore in May.

Common Reading Program Seeks Discussion Leaders

The Common Reading Program is currently seeking 200 faculty, staff and community members to facilitate book discussions during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The Common Reading program will involve a one-hour discussion on Friday, Aug. 22, in the afternoon. Prior to the actual discussion, leaders will be provided with a copy of the book, a training session and discussion materials. There will be several training sessions that will be held throughout summer for new and returning discussion leaders.

Sign Up

Kent State faculty, staff and alumni interested in serving as discussion leaders should go to the following link: for the electronic sign-up. The link is located at the bottom of the page. Please be prepared to provide your contact information and training time preference.