By Erin Garrett
University of Mississippi
In today’s geological age, it is undeniable that humans have a significant impact on the world we inhabit. The University of Mississippi’s 2022 Common Reading Experience selection examines this and how humans are conversely affected by the world.
“The Anthropocene Reviewed” (Dutton, 2021) features a collection of essays by acclaimed author John Green that review different facets of human life on a five-star scale. The book is adapted from his popular podcast of the same name.
Green is also author of “Looking for Alaska,” “An Abundance of Katherines” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” which was adapted for a critically and commercially successful 2014 film.
Stephen Monroe, chair of the UM Department of Writing and Rhetoric and co-chair of the Common Reading Experience Steering Committee, is excited for the latest selection.
“With support from the chancellor and provost, UM faculty, staff and students chose John Green’s ‘The Anthropocene Reviewed’ for next year’s common read,” Monroe said. “It is a wonderful book: funny, moving and insightful.
“Green reminds us that we are responsible for this world. We can understand it, and we can make it better.”
In its 12th year, the Common Reading Experience provides every first-year student with a copy of the selected text at orientation to finish before the school year begins in August. Instructors from the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, First-year Experience and others then use the text in their classes, which creates an enriched sense of academic community through communal reading.
This year’s selection is thought-provoking, said Natasha Jeter, assistant vice chancellor for wellness and student success and co-chair of the CRE selection subcommittee.
“Green applies his review-style writing to a wide variety of subjects, from viral meningitis to Taco Bell,” Jeter said. “I think both faculty and students alike will enjoy reading his essays and thinking about their application to today’s world.
“This is a wonderful addition to our collection of Common Reading Experience books.”
Past Common Reading Experience selections include engaging works such as “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot; “The Girls of Atomic City,” by Denise Kiernan; “What the Eyes Don’t See” by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha; and most recently, “World of Wonders,” by author and Ole Miss English professor Aimee Nezhukumatathil.
“Reading a book together is a powerful act of community,” Monroe said. “Each year, our university gathers around a common book, and we learn more about our shared existence.
“We read, think, write, discuss. We enact our fundamental purpose as a university.”
Common Reading Experience authors are invited to speak at Fall Convocation each year.
For more information on Green, visit https://www.prhspeakers.com/. For more information on the Common Reading Experience, go to https://umreads.olemiss.edu/.