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Common Reading Program Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Book Nominations

Based on nominations, proposed books for the 2020-21 Common Reading book are as follows.

  • Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir
  • Red Notice, by Bill Browder
  • The Fearless Organization, by Amy C. Edmondson
  • America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States, by Erika Lee
  • The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World, by Charles C. Mann
  • Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush
  • What We Know about Climate Change, by Kerry Emanuel
  • Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, by Mary Robinson
  • The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World, by Jeff Goodell
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah
  • The Bone Women, by Clea koff
  • Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben
  • The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, by Martin Rees
  • World Peace: (And How We Can Achieve It), by Alex J. Bellamy
  • History and Hope: The International Humanitarian Reader, by Kevin M. Cahill
  • Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet, edited by Sosan A. Cohen and Julie Dunlap
  • Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale, by Adam Minter
  • Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, by P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman
  • Red Notice, by Bill Browder
  • Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, by David R. Montgomery
  • How to Do Nothing, by Jenny Odell
  • Global Food Futures Feeding the World in 2050, by Brian Gardner
  • Educated A Memoir, by Tara Westover
  • Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, by Paul Greenberg
  • Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown
  • The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan
  • Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  • Good Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
  • A Crisis of Civility? Political Discourse and Its Discontents, by Robert Boatright

Selection Committee

Members of the 2020-21 Common Reading Selection Committee are:

  • Brett Bell, WSU Tri-Cities
  • Brandon Brackett, Residence Life
  • Brandon Buckingham, WSU Everett
  • Andria Donnenwerth, Global Campus
  • Erica England, Libraries
  • Ken Faunce, Roots of Contemporary Issues
  • Joni Ford, New Student Programs
  • Bree Hubbard, College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM)
  • Morann Johnson, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture (VCEA)
  • Laura Kuhlman, English 101
  • Annie Lampman, Honors
  • Sam Lohmann, WSU Vancouver
  • Johnny Lupinacci, College of Education
  • Hannah Martian, ASWSU
  • James Mohr, WSU Spokane
  • Chuck Munson, Carson College of Business (CCB)
  • Anthony Pohorilak, Residence Life
  • Ruth Ryan, Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC)
  • Samantha Solomon, First-Year Programs
  • Ellen Taylor, Student Affairs
  • Anna Whitehall, CAHNRS (2019 CR Excellence Awardee)
  • Kara Whitman, School of the Environment (2018 CR Excellence Awardee)
  • Cindy Williams, UNIV 104 Freshman Seminar, First-Year Programs


The two-year theme for common reading books used in 2019-20 and 2020-21 is “global stability, scarcity, and security.”  Every book nominated must align with this theme. Nominators are encouraged to think broadly about topics that could fit this theme; the book chosen for 2019-20 deals with the international refugee crisis, though nominations for that year covered topics such as the environment, climate change, etc.

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 other students 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.

*If for any reason you cannot access the online form to submit your nominations, plan to provide the following information and send it to by the deadline:

  • Book title, author
  • Number of pages, year of publication, publisher
  • List price
  • Available in paperback? Available for digital download?
  • What makes the book memorable and worthy of campus engagement?
  • What potential connections might this book provide to a broad range of disciplines?
  • How could this book promote intellectual and community engagement through campus events that exist or could be planned?
  • Does the book connect to or highlight existing university research or activity?
  • How realistic a read is this book for incoming freshmen?
  • What would you hope students take away from reading this book?
  • Your name, relationship to WSU (faculty, staff, student, alum, friend/supporter, unaffiliated), and email.