Welcome

MTSU's Community Summer Reading Program was created in 2002 under the direction of Laurie Witherow, the Associate Vice Provost for Admissions and Enrollment Services. The objectives of the program are to:

  • provide a unifying experience for the entering class of students,
  • partner with Murfreesboro community organizations,
  • encourage intellectual interaction among students,
  • provide students with the opportunity to read and personally interact with critically-acclaimed authors, and
  • affirm the importance of reading for a successful and fulfilling life.

During CUSTOMS, all incoming freshman students receive packets that include a Summer Reading Guide, information about the author, and a list of course sections using the book selection for the Fall. In its first year, over 100 different course sections from three different academic colleges participated, along with six reading groups from the local community! More than 7,500 people attended last Fall's University Convocation where our guest author was invited to speak.

2019
 

EducatedBookCover

Our Summer Reading Program choice for 2019 is Educated, by Tara Westover. The author, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when Tara’s older brother became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

We hope you will plan to join us in welcoming author Tara Westover as she addresses the incoming class at Middle Tennessee State University as our 18th Summer Reading keynote speaker at this year’s Convocation.

Past Summer Reading Program Book Selections at MTSU

For more information about the Summer Reading Program, contact Danielle Rochelle via email at Danielle.Rochelle@mtsu.edu or via phone at (615) 898-2808.

Information adapted from https://tarawestover.com/book/.