Today@Sam Article

Books Creating Conversation On Campus

Oct. 5, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

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Sam Houston State University is committed to building a lifelong learning environment through the combined efforts of a diverse community of students, faculty and staff. 

This year, members of SHSU are using books as a tool to encourage a sense of community around campus. 

Reading is typically viewed as a solo act, but when people of diverse backgrounds all participate in a shared reading experience, they are exposed to a variety of ideas and can expand their world-view. 

Below are a few motivational, challenging and interesting books being read on campus to enjoy, ponder and debate this year. In addition to the readings, there will also be corresponding events and programs geared towards promoting learning and understanding across disciplines.

HowDoesItFeel“How Does it Feel to be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America” by Moustafa Bayoumi

Diversity Reader

Contacts: Paul Eaton,Siham Bouamer

Goal: The reading program aims at gathering students, faculty, staff, and members of the community in order to discuss works that facilitate empathy across lines of difference and encourage collaboration and professional relationships at all levels.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of the book.

“Moustafa Bayoumi’s, ‘How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?’ is a thought-provoking and touching book. It gives us the opportunity to learn more about the experiences of seven young Arab Americans from Brooklyn, NY. They share their insights about struggles, but also their hopes and dreams for the future in a post-9/11 America,” Siham Bouamer, assistant professor for the Department of World Languages and Cultures and co-chair of the CHSS Diversity and Inclusion Committee said. “Bayoumi’s book was an evident choice when students expressed their interests in learning more about the Arab and Muslim community. I am using the book in a course currently offered in the Honors Program on Islamophobia. One of my students, Victoria Makanjuola, who is also a co-executive director for the Diversity Council, shared that after reading ‘How Does it Feel to Be A Problem,’ she realized how important the book was because it helps demystify the stereotypes about Arab-Americans and Muslims in the United States and that she has always wanted to hear the Arab-American perspective.”

Past Books: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Upcoming Events: Meet the Author

Meet the author, Moustafa Bayoumi, and discuss his book “How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America,” as part of the SHSU Fall 2018 Diversity Reader.

  • Thursday, Oct. 18, 4 – 6 p.m.
  • Olson Auditorium

DanRather"What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism” by Dan Rather

Common Reader

Contact: Kay Angrove

Goal: The overarching goal of the Common Reader Program is to provide a campus-wide common intellectual experience, leading to informed and educated perspectives about complex subjects.

“I feel the Common Reader program is an invaluable one and represents a bridge from the university to incoming students, allowing them to begin thinking critically about a selection before further developing that sense in the classroom,” student Andrew Vierkant said. “I fully believe that the Common Reader Program, as well as everyone behind the scenes making it happen, are committed to helping out new students to Sam and providing the university with a talking point for everyone involved.”

Past Books: The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield, Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, China's Son by Da Chen, The Fly in the Ointment by Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf.

Upcoming Events:

“Frankenstein” by Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

Contact: SHSU English Department, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, etc.

Campus-Wide Frankenstein Celebration

Goal: In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's “Frankenstein.”

“SHSU joins a global conversation about one of the most frequently read and taught novels in English. ‘Frankenstein’ appeals to both literary experts and novice readers partly because it continues to be relevant to issues we face today,” Kandi Tayebi, professor for the Department of English said. “The novel fosters discussions on issues as diverse as ethics in science, the human tendency to turn those different from ourselves into monsters, how parenting affects the development of children, and how we decide on who or what is considered human. Many of these topics are not only relevant to our everyday lives but are part of our entertainment, such as shows like ‘Westworld’ or ‘Humans.’ In a time when we are struggling with questions on immigration, the use and misuse of technology, and the role of women in society, ‘Frankenstein’ provides a means to frame the conversations.”

Upcoming Events: Marathon Reading of Frankenstein

In coordination with over 500 universities and libraries worldwide, SHSU will hold a marathon reading of Frankenstein to commemorate the publication of the novel. The reading will last all day and will be followed by a barbeque and an evening with the fine arts to include a live scoring of the silent film “Frankenstein” by the Sam Houston Percussion Group, a theater arts performance with live music, and an erasure poetry reading by student poets.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Evans Building, 212

21 Qualities “21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” by John C. Maxwell

Faculty and Staff Book Club

Contact: Todd Primm

Goal: Faculty and staff book clubs are for academic enrichment and to foster communities of learning.

“The Faculty & Staff Book Club for this academic year will be discussing 'The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow' by John C. Maxwell.” Maxwell is the author of more than 100 books focusing on how to be a more effective leader and is also a co-founder and former keynote speaker for Leadercast,” Todd Primm professor for the Department of Biological Sciences and PACE director said. “We will discuss ideas presented in the book and consider how to apply them to our personal and professional lives.”

Past Books:The Eighth Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and The College Administrator’s Survivor Guide by C. K. Gunsalus.


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