The Common Read is a CSUMB program that serves the entire community, with a focus on first time freshmen. It is co-sponsored by Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, and is coordinated through the Common Read Committee.
- Be readable, relevant, engaging, and well-written
- Appeal to students with diverse backgrounds and experiences
- Encompass sufficient depth and scope to generate discussions that include different points of view
- Be conducive to teaching and learning, and offer opportunities for integration into academic programs
- Lend itself to a variety of activities and programming
For questions, comments, and feedback regarding CSUMB’s Common Read, email orientation.
About the Book
Check out the book from the CSUMB Library or read the eBook here.
Gordo by Jaime Cortez is a selection of short stories set in a migrant workers camp near Watsonville, California in the 1970s. The book is a work of fiction, but is based or cobbled together by real events experienced by the author. These scenes from Steinbeck Country, seen so intimately from within are full of humor, family drama, and a sweet frankness about serious matters – who belongs to America and how are they treated? How does one learn decency, when laborers, grown adults, must fear for their lives and livelihoods as they try to do everything to bring home a paycheck? Written with balance and poise, Cortez braids together elegant and inviting stories about life on a California camp, in essence redefining what all-American means.
Finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, A “Best Book of August” at Bustle, A Best Book of the Year at NPR and BookPage
About the Author
Jaime Cortez is a graphic novelist, visual artist, writer, teacher, and occasional performer. Cortez has historically used art and humor to explore sexuality, social justice, HIV/AIDS, and Chicano identity.
Of note, Jaime Cortez has previously worked as an adjunct professor in the Visual and Public Art Department at CSUMB.
Date: November 13
Time: 4 to 6 p.m.
Jaime Cortez will be visiting campus for a discussion, Q and A and book signing. This event is open to all members of CSUMB and the public. Space is limited, so please register in advance.
CSUMB started its Common Read program in the early 1990’s and has historically showcased local authors such as John Steinbeck. Recently, the initiative has resurfaced and you can read below for chronological listing of common read selection.
2019-22 How to Break up with your Phone by Catherine Price
Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you touch before bed? Do you frequently pick it up “just to check,” only to look up forty-five minutes later wondering where the time has gone? Do you say you want to spend less time on your phone—but have no idea how to do so without giving it up completely? If so, this book is your solution. Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.
You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.
2018-19 When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells their story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of their experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today's headlines.
2017-18 The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
The Best We Could Do, the debut graphic novel by Thi Bui, is an intimate look at one family's journey from their war-torn home in Vietnam to their new lives in America. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui's story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of the unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through.
2016-17 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
The Common Read Committee (CRC) strives to represent the campus community at large, and they embody the spirit of harnessing individual efforts towards a collective goal: to engage our community in impactful, dynamic, and educational readings and events. They work closely with campus stakeholders to suggest new campus reads and support new and existing common read-related events to engage the campus community. CRC members plan, execute, and assess common read programming as identified and agreed upon by the group.
First Year Experience Program Specialist and Librarian
First Year Experience Coordinator
Library Outreach Staff
First Year Seminar Lecturers