Submit your book nomination using our online form.


Members of the Common Reading Program Selection Committee for 2017-18 are:

  • Brandon Brackett, Residence Life
  • Ken Faunce, Roots of Contemporary Issues
  • Larry Fox, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Science
  • Kaitlin Hennessy, Global Campus
  • Michell Jaworski, Office of the Dean of Students
  • Kate McAteer, WSU Tri-Cities
  • Colleen McMahon, ASWSU
  • James Mohr, WSU Spokane
  • Chuck Munson, Carson College of Business
  • Susan Poch, Office of Undergraduate Education and Transfer Clearinghouse
  • Julia Rosenzweig, New Student Programs
  • Ruth Ryan, Academic Success and Career Center
  • Leslie Sena, First-Year Focus, UNIV104
  • Suzanne Smith, WSU Vancouver
  • Amanda Tomchick, Student
  • Karen Weathermon, First-Year Programs
  • Owen Williams, English 101, First-Year Focus


The theme for books used in 2017-18 and 2018-19 is “Frontiers of Technology, Health, and Society.”  All books nominated must align with this theme.

Everyone is encouraged to consider submitting the name of a good book that fits the theme and reasons why it would be the best choice for freshmen and others to read and use in classes and beyond.  By providing the Selection Committee with some basic information as well as your reasons for nominating this book, you will have made a huge impact on thousands of WSU students across many campuses.

All nominations will be posted on this site within a few days of receipt.

(This section shows basic required information, which will be in the online form when nominations are open.)

  1. Author:
  2. Title:
  3. # of pages:
  4. Publication year:
  5. Publisher:
  6. List price: $
  7. Available in paperback?  Yes or No
  8. How does this book fit in with the stated Common Reading theme?
  9. What makes this book memorable and worthy of campus engagement?
  10. What potential connections might this book provide to a broad range of disciplines?
  11. How could this book promote intellectual and community engagement through campus events that exist or could be planned (e.g., author visit, other speakers, scholarly symposia, exhibits, performances, and new student orientation)?
  12. Does the book connect to or highlight existing university research or activity (e.g., areas of faculty research, civic engagement, and global initiatives)?
  13. How realistic a read it this book for incoming freshmen (e.g., not too long, assessable for undergraduates, well written, or compelling in some way)?
  14. What would you hope students take away from reading this book?
  16. Are you…a WSU faculty member, staff, student, alumna/alumnus, or friend/supporter, or are you unaffiliated with WSU?
  17. For those with WSU ties, with which campus are you affiliated…Pullman, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Spokane, North Puget Sound/Everett, Global, or other (e.g. Federal Way, Bellevue, Extension, etc.)?

Nominated for the 2017-18 academic year

  • The Industries of the Future, by Alex Ross
  • The Most Human World: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive, by Brian Christian
  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, & Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  • Trespassing Across American: One Man’s Epic Never-Done-Before (And Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland, by Ken Ilgunas
  • HOT – Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, by Mark Jertsgaard
  • Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives  and Our Lives Change Our Genes, by Sharon Maolem
  • Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
  • GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
  • How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, by Steven Johnson
  • The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student, by Miriam Grossman
  • The Postmortal, by Drew Magary
  • Internet Wars: The Struggle for Power In the 21st Century, by Fergus Hanson
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande                                                        
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, by  Cathy O’Neil
  • Crosstalk, by Connie Willis
  • The Importance of Being Civil: The Struggle for Political Decency, by John A. Hall
  • The Circle, by Dave Eggers
  • What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the Worldby Tina Seelig
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
  • Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit, by Vandana Shiva
  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler
  • A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if you Flunked Algebra), by Barbara Oakley
  • Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now that the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room, by David Weinberger
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Ready Player One, by Earnest Cline
  • Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Long Will We Deal with It?, by David A. Weintraub
  • The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys’ Club, by Eileen Pollack
  • Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, by Martin Ford
  • Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream, by Joshua Davis

(Updated 11/3/16)

Nominated for the 2016-17 academic year

  • UNDOCUMENTED: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey From a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League, by Daniel Padilla Peralta
  • On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments, by Alison Levine
  • Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, by Eli Clare
  • The Bible, by the Holy Spirit
  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, Sheri Fink, M.D.
  • High Price, Carl Hart
  • Why Nations Fall, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
  • The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and The Rise of Free Culture on The Internet, by Justin Peters
  • My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
  • Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R., by Sampson Davis, M.D.
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein
  • Cuba Adios: A Young Man’s Journey to Freedom, by Lorenzo Pablo Martinez
  • Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer
  • Integration Nation: Immigrants, Refugees, and America at It’s Best, by Susan E. Eaton
  • Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America, by Tim Wise
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown
  • Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa, by Abena Dove Osseo-Asare
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir
  • Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan: A Man to Match His Mountains, by Eknath Easwaran
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, by Wes Moore
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Question of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder
  • A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, by Josh Neufeld
  • Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru Jayaraman
  • The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, by Andrea Wulf
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein

Nominated in Previous Years

Nominated for the 2015-16 Academic Year

  • Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss
  • Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  • How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, by Jordan Ellenberg
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein
  • The Devil’s Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books, by Azar Nafisi
  • Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, by N. Oreskes and E. Conway
  • Every Dress a Decision, by Elizabeth Austen
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
  • Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
  • The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan
  • Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle, by Douglas J. Emlen
  • The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, by Jonathan M. Katz
  • David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
  • The Radical Leap, by Steve Farber
  • Life the Life You Love, by Barbara Sher
  • March: Book One, by Congressman John Lewis
  • Searching for Zion, by Emily Raboteau
  • Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, by William Bryant Logan
  • Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We can Do (Issues of Our Time), by Claude M. Steele
  • The Goal, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  • The Secret Life of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore

Nominated for the 2014-15 Academic Year

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, by Edward Humes, was selected as the 2014-15 Common Reading.

  • Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100, by Michio Kaku
  • Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
  • The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, by Jonathan Gottschall
  • dLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, by Timothy Egan
  • The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease, by Daniel E. Lieberman
  • Journey with Julian, by Dwayne Ballen
  • A Language Older than Words, by Derrick Jensen
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold Kushner
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus, by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
  • Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster, by Angela Day
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
  • One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson
  • The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge
  • Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” by Wes Moore
  • Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals & Reagan’s Rise to Power, by Seth Rosenfeld
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck
  • Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream, by Adam Shepard
  • Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration, by Michelle Loyalka
  • How to Read a Client from Across the Room: Win More Business with the Proven Character Code System to Decode Verbal and Nonverbal Communication,  by Brandy Mychals
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander

Nominated for the 2013-14 Academic year

Of these nominations, “Being Wrong,” by Kathryn Schulz, was selected as the 2013-14 Common Reading book.

  • “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus”  by Charles C. Mann
  • “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Schulz
  • “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of  Two Cultures” by Anne Fadiman
  • “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America” by Barbara Erenreich
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
  • “The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood” by David R. Montgomery
  • “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  • “The Origins of Aids” by Jaques Pepin
  • “Mighty Be Our Powers” by Leymah Gbowee
  • “The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World” by Bjorn Lomborg
  • “Unfamiliar Fishes” by Sarah Vowell
  • “She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders” by Jennifer Finney Boylan
  • “That Used to be Us” by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
  • “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash” by Edward Humes
  • “The Social Animal” by David Brooks
  • “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely
  • “Ignorance: How It Drives Science” by Stuart Firestein
  • “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water” by Charles Fisherman
  • “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight about Animals” by Hal Herzog
  • “Made in Hanford: The Bomb that Changed the World” by Hill Williams
  • “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
  • “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson
  • “The Post-American World, Release 2.0” by Fareed Zakaria
  • “Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village” by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
  • “War of the Worldviews: Where Science and Spirituality Meet—and Do Not” by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow
  • “River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon” by Buddy Levy
  • “Foreign to Familiar” by Sarah A. Lanier
  • “Dreams of Joy: A Novel” by Lisa See
  • “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & The Fire That Saved America” by Timothy Egan

Nominated for the 2012-13 Academic Year

The Common Reading book selected for use in 2012-13 is “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

  • The Element,” by Ken Robinson
  • Scratch Beginnings,” by Adam Shepard
  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America,” by Timothy Egan
  • The Last Town on Earth,” by Thomas Mullen
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot
  • My Life as a Traitor: An Iranian Memoir,” by Zahara Ghahramani and Robert Hillman
  • How We Decide,” by Jonah Lehrer
  • The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy,” by Pietra Rivoli
  • Leave the Light On,” by Jennifer Storm
  • Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know” and/or “Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives,” by Patrick Michaels
  • “The Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis,” by Cynthia Barnett
  • “Travel as a Political Act,” by Rick Steves
  • You Talkin’ to Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama,” by Sam Leith
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” by Jared Diamond
  • The Crying Tree,” by Naseem Rakha
  • “Drinking: A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp
  • “Something Incredible Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up” by K.C. Cole
  • “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham
  • “Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis” by Cynthia Barnett
  • “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of American’s Wealthy” by Thomas J Stanley and William D. Danko
  • “Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
  • “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” by Bill McKibben
  • “Bearded Women Stories” by Teresa Milbrodt
  • “Made in Hanford” by Hill Williams
  • “Where Am I Wearing?” by Kelsey Timmerman
  • “Beyond the Finite: the Sublime in Art and Science” by Roald Hoffman and Iain Boyde Whyte
  • “The Housekeeper and the Professor,” by Yoko Ogawa
  • “Ripples of a Lie, a Biography of Eugene Barnett,” by Esther Barnett Goffinet