“Home,” the latest novel by Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, will be the 2013 summer reading book for incoming students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A nine-member selection committee of students, faculty and staff selected the book from five finalists. Students on the committee said they believe “Home” will inspire first-year students in their academic, personal and social lives. Christopher Putney, associate professor of Russian in the department of Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures and chair of the committee, agrees.
“The committee agreed that this book should resonate with our incoming Carolina first-year students, as many of them will be leaving their own homes and making new homes and supportive communities for themselves,” he said.
New students who will enroll in the fall are expected and encouraged to read the book this summer and participate in small group discussions on the Monday before fall semester classes start.
The summer reading program, now in its 15th year, aims to stimulate critical thinking outside the classroom and give new students intellectual common ground. The university also believes it serves as an academic icebreaker that encourages students to engage with the scholarly community and come to their own conclusions about the material.
“Home” is the story of a man who joins the army to escape his too-small world, leaving behind his cherished and fragile little sister, Cee. After the war, his shattered life has no purpose until he hears that Cee is in danger.
The other four finalists were “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo; “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz; “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward; and “The Speed of Dark” by Elizabeth Moon. The committee considered fiction and nonfiction.