“The Glass Castle” Selected for 2011-12 Freshman Reading Program

February 13th, 2011 | News

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Jeannette Walls’ memoir, “The Glass Castle,” was chosen out of 13 other books as the 2011-12 Cal State Northridge Freshman Common Reading Program selection.

The autobiography recounts Walls’ turbulent childhood.  She and her siblings grew up with parents who were incapable of taking care of themselves, let alone four children. Walls, an accomplished journalist for MSNBC.com, overcomes the obstacles of her dysfunctional rearing with surprisingly little judgment on her eccentric parents.

Cheryl Spector, director of the Academic First Year Experiences program, said the committee chose the book because it engages students in a variety of disciplines, whether students are taking journalism, freshman writing, economics, sociology or child development classes.

She said that the book conveys the importance of being conscious of yourself as an adult. The great American “rags to riches” story is a very powerful one and evokes strong emotional responses and reflections from readers.

“It is an important goal to draw in students and engage them. The fact that it is a true story has a special appeal,” said Spector.

The multiplicity of themes also allows for an array of discussions and teachable materials, just one of which is the concept of materialism.

“We live in an ‘I want it’ society. This book suggests that lacking material goods is not a death sentence,” said Spector.

Workshops will be available for faculty starting in late February. More details regarding the workshops will be posted online at www.csun.edu/afye.

CSUN’s Freshman Common Reading Program is a part of Academic First Year Experiences, which strives to help transfer and freshman students make a successful transition to CSUN. Programs like the Common Reading Program and the Freshman Celebration provide opportunities to link curricular with noncurricular learning so that first-year students smoothly transition to university life. For more information about the Academic First Year Experiences program visit, www.csun.edu/afye/about-afye.html.

—Angela Browne

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