For the first time this fall at Queen’s University, all first-year undergraduate students studying full time received a free copy of Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill. Queen’s thus joins a handful of other Canadian universities to offer common reading programs for incoming students.
Students at Queen’s were encouraged to read the book over the summer in preparation for a variety of discussion sessions held over orientation week. The university also partnered with Kingston WritersFest to host a special event at the end of September where Ms. Gill was scheduled to speak. The program promotes reading, builds community and eases students’ transition to university, says Ann Tierney, vice-provost and dean of student affairs at Queen’s.
McMaster University is in its second year of offering a common reading program, with 900 students registered to receive a free copy of A Year of Living Generously by Lawrence Scanlan. Nipissing University’s Common Book Common Ground program returned this fall with Feed by M.T. Anderson. University of Calgary students were asked to read Bitter Medicine by U of Calgary professor Clem Martini and Olivier Martini. Trent University’s first-year book club, Trent Reads, launched in 2008, selected for this year Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants.