Vote for Next Year's Common Book Selection 

RIC’s Open Books - Open Minds Committee is soliciting campus input in choosing the college’s 2014-2015 common book for incoming students. This year’s selections are:

·      “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” by Alison Bechdel (2006), a graphic memoir centered on the author’s complex relationship with her father;

·      “Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong,” by Raymond Bonner (2012), an examination of a South Carolina murder case involving a death penalty conviction;

·      “Unbowed: A Memoir,” by Wangari Muta Maatha (2007), which details the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s life as a feminist and political activist; and

·      “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,” by Oliver Sacks (2007), an exploration of the human response to music.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the college are invited to vote from a list of these four books through Feb. 14 in an online survey at

The common book is assigned annually as required reading for each incoming class. Students are encouraged to read the book before the fall 2014 semester.

Each year, the selected book is incorporated into some sections of RIC’s first-year writing seminars, as well as into other classes across college disciplines. There also is a series of events, including a daylong student conference each spring, organized around themes inspired by common book.

“The OBOM program is designed to give the campus a sense of academic connection across disciplines, class levels and audiences — students, faculty and administrators — to create community,” said Zubeda Jalalzai, professor of English and co-chair of the OBOM Committee. “So, we like to have campus input in the book selection.”

Common books are chosen for: their literary value in theme and writing quality; accessibility to freshmen in language, length and availability, including price; treatment of a subject that is important or relevant to college students; ability to be incorporated into a variety of courses and in-class and campus-wide activities; and the likelihood that students did not read the book in high school.

Nominations for the upcoming selection were solicited across campus during the 2012-2013 academic year. The OBOM Committee annually selects between eight and 10 finalist books from submitted nominations. Committee members read each of those books and then collectively choose a short list of three to four books.

Though the OBOM Committee, comprised of faculty, staff and students, makes the final book selection, members take into account feedback from the campus community throughout the yearlong selection process.

A copy of each short-list book is available in the James P. Adams Library, and the campus community is encouraged to read the books before voting in the online survey.

For more information on the Open Books-Open Minds Program, including details on books available for vote, visit