Skip to main content Skip to navigation
WSU Undergraduate Education WSU Common Reading

Ready Player One: Common Reading for 5 Campuses (2017‑18)

August 28, 2017!
Ready Player One author to speak at WSU Pullman

Get, read, chill
Read Ready Player One this summer!

Faculty: Using Ready Player One in fall classes? Get a desk copy now!

Click to read more>>

Side-by-side thumbnail photos of book coversReady Player One chosen for Pullman, Tri-Cities, Spokane, Everett, and Global Campus; Spare Parts for Vancouver

Click to read more>>

What is a Common Reading?

A common reading is one way to create community connections among students, and between students and their professors, residence hall staff, and others. Topics in a selected book are examined throughout the year by members of the university community. They spark discussions and intellectual conversations in and beyond classrooms, highlight WSU research and the diversity of ideas across disciplines, and introduce different ways to explore complex issues from a variety of perspectives.

Ready Player One will be used by thousands of students from day-one of fall semester on five WSU campuses.  Students will encounter topics from the book in many UCORE general education classes, such as sections of HIST 105 (Roots of Civilization), English 101, and UNIV 104 (First-Year Success Seminar), as well as courses in many majors.  Ready Player One is WSU’s first common reading novel.

What’s it about?  Characters move between the real world and the technological cloud in year 2044.  Environmental fallout from global warming has led to social woes and economic miseries, with people seeking escape from reality in MMORPGs–massively multi-player online role-playing games. Teenager Wade Watts has devoted his life to the virtual reality utopia named OASIS, a sim game created by a man obsessed with 1980s pop culture and who has hidden puzzles in the game with the promise of unimaginable fortune and power to the one who deciphers them.  When Watts finds a clue, will he be famous, or the target of have-nots?

Ready Player One will inspire robust programming that…

  • will highlight cutting-edge innovations and applications of technology in a variety of fields at the university, and
  • inspire the university community to explore larger issues about the ethical dilemmas and changing sense of identity that arise in an increasingly digital world.

Creating community connections around book topics

Topics from a single, carefully selected book for students are featured in mainly first-year classes but also in other classes in disciplines across the university, and in special events and presentations. Having a shared source for such topics provides a common ground for students and their professors, as well as stimulates discussions and learning. The same topics also lend themselves to presentations in a lecture series presented by faculty and other experts, and to discussions among students, faculty, and the community within and beyond classrooms.

A robust and fun Common Reading Tuesdays guest expert lecture/film/event series brings diverse and comprehensive book topics to life in terms of university research and real-life applications. Many students earn extra credit points for attending. Some of their comments include:

  • “I really enjoyed this event. I was able to really connect with it.”
  • “Gave me a better perspective of the issues in this book.”
  • “Excellent presentation with a very interesting topic and discussion.”
  • “Amazing. Informative and perspective broadening.”
  • “Very open & good speakers. Engaging.”
  • “Really interesting topic, great presentation. Presenters were knowledgeable and engaging. I greatly enjoyed the presentation.”