Common Read

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. 

Selection Criteria

  • 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.

An image of a the book cover Gordo Stories by Jaime Cortez


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.


NPR Book Review

San Francisco Public Library program with author on YouTube

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.


Common Read Author Visit

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.