The Staff Common Reading Book Program is the Common Reading Program parallel program for staff/ faculty.  Celebrating the 200th anniversary of  its publication, the Common Reading Program book selected for the Class of 2021 is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and as such will also serve as the 2017 Staff Common Reading Book.

The Staff Common Reading Book Program aims to:

  • provide a common intellectual experience for staff/faculty;
  • provide an opportunity for staff/ faculty to meet and interact with each other in informal social discussions;
  • provide an opportunity to promote the spirit of inquiry and debate that is a foundation of our university
  • create additional points of connection for staff/faculty with incoming first year students and alumni .

Frankenstein: Book Download Instructions

Staff Common Reading Program Book Registration and Sessions

Frankenstein Companion Guides for Readers

Frankenstein Discussion Guides for Lead Facilitators

The Frankenstein Project at Washington University in St. Louis, 1818-2018

Frankenstein 1818-2018 .pptx by Corinna Treitel

(Coming soon) Full List of Frankenstein Lead Facilitators

This [Frankenstein] powerful novel has remained relevant for its 200 years of publication as it helped develop the horror genre and used the uncanny as a clever way to spark discussions about gender, sexuality, what it means to be different, race, the limitations of science, god complexes, diversity, loneliness, and what it means to be afraid in a time when those discussions were not always welcomed.
Libby Evan
College of Art
Class of 2020

Past Book Selection

2016: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In this exceptional and somber work, acclaimed author and journalist for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, speaks through a letter to his son to explore the many—often tragic—experiences of being black in the United States of America. Coates blends elements of memoir, symbolism, and historical ruminations to convey the fear black parents feel for their children, the fragility of the black body in the face of systemic violence, and the chances of achieving substantive racial progress in the 21st century. Continuing in the seminal style of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Coates challenges the reader to observe the state of race in the US through a skeptical and critical lens, offering up the future as an ominous state of affairs for this generation to struggle with and shape.

Between the World and Me has received near universal acclaim from many, was the winner of the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

2015: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine ​
In this remarkable and timely work, acclaimed author and Pomona College professor, Claudia Rankine, uses poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images to explore what it means to be an American citizen in a “post-racial” society. Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV — everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.

2014: Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino​ ​
In this remarkable and elegant work, acclaimed NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino fuses legal manifesto and poetic memoir to call for a redefinition of civil rights in our law and culture.
Everyone covers. To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream. Because all of us possess stigmatized attributes, we all encounter pressure to cover in our daily lives. Given its pervasiveness, we may experience this pressure to be a simple fact of social life. Yoshino’s argument draws deeply on his personal experiences as a gay Asian American. He follows the Romantics in his belief that if a human life is described with enough particularity, the universal will speak through it. The result is a work that combines one of the most moving memoirs written in years with a landmark manifesto on the civil rights of the future.