The Common Read

The Common Read programming provides a venue for learning, sharing diverse points of view, fostering open discussion, and building respect for each other and new and different ideas.

Each year, the Diversity Action Committee (DAC), in consultation with school community members, chooses a book to serve as the Common Read. The Common Read is a signature school-wide initiative that provides opportunities for discussion, introduced through an annual Fall Common Read Kick-Off event, Common Read overview for all new and returning students at fall orientation, a brief discussion at the annual faculty retreat, and on-going workshops presented over the fall semester that are open to faculty, staff, and students. Faculty are encouraged to incorporate the subject matter into their courses throughout the year.

Beyond the Common Read is a suite of annual programs, designed and co-sponsored by the Office of DEI and Out and Allied Educators, that complement the themes of each year’s Common Read. These programs are a way for our community, in EHD and Grounds widely, to learn more and engage the topics and issues brought up each year’s Common Read.

This year EHD will introduce Common Conversations into the Common Read programming. The Common Read will be a starting point for a broader Common Conversation around these ideas and the intersections we see across current issues facing the world today such as mental health and wellness; sexism, gender norms, and identity politics; and institutional inequities and systemic racism such as in education and healthcare. To enrichen what we are calling these Common Conversations, we have a second selected book to complement the common read, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa.

Author Sonya Renee Taylor in a field looking off to left

This Year's Common Read

In the book, The Body is Not An Apology, world-renowned poet Sonya Renee Taylor discusses how inequity, oppression, and injustice are in key ways a manifestation of our inability to make peace with the body. Aligned with the movement of the same name that began with a Facebook post, this book discusses the refusal of being held hostage by the body terrorism of the media and of the forces of social inequality and cultivating Radical Self Love as a foundational tool for social justice and global transformation. You can access the book through UVA Library’s ProQuest Ebook Central.

Out and Allied Educators logo. A circle shape with the Progress Pride Flag in the middle

Co-Sponsor Feature: Out and Allied Educators

Out and Allied Educators is a student affinity group at the school whose mission is to support members of the Queer community and to prepare our Allies to create safe educational spaces for gender-nonconforming youth. OAE is proud to co-sponsor Beyond the Common Read events this year to support the goals of visibility, inclusion, and belonging, by pulling educationally relevant topics out of the book for further inquiry and connection.

The Common Read

  • 2022-2023: Life Isn't Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between by Meg-John Barker and Alex Iantaffi
  • 2021-2022: Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong (2020)
  • 2020-2021: The Privileged Poor by Anthony Abraham Jack (2019)
  • 2019-2020: Educated by Tara Westover (2018)
  • 2018-2019: Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind (2014)
  • 2017-2018: Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum (2017)
  • 2016-2017: Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam (2015)
  • 2015-2016: Waking Up White (and finding myself in the story of race) by Debby Irving (2014)
  • 2014-2015: Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce (1988)
  • 2013-2014: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (2006)
  • 2012-2013: Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele (2011)
  • 2011-2012: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010)

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Have a suggestion for future Common Reads?