OCTC's Common Reading Selection for Fall 2017

Jun 28, 2017

OWENSBORO, KY. (JUNE 26, 2017) (06/26/2017) The Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) Common Reading for fall 2017 will be the international best seller, The Circle, a novel by Dave Eggers. Dave Eggers will be at OCTC on Thursday, November 16 for a reading, book signing, and a reception.

The Circle is a dystopian novel set in the near future. Themes include privacy in the digital age, monopoly power, and social media issues. The main character is overwhelmed by her good fortune obtaining a job at a powerful internet company. Things take a turn as the company gains influence over her life and relationships, and the company continues to expand its power. The Circle was adapted into a movie released earlier this year and stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, and Karen Gillan.

The author, Dave Eggers, is also known for his books: Zeitoun, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and A Hologram for the King. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the live action version of Where the Wild Things Are. Eggers is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing firm and literary journal. In addition, Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of tutoring centers, and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools, and donors to make college possible.

OCTC selected The Circle as a capstone to celebrate the successful completion of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant for Two-Year Colleges. The college was one of the first community colleges awarded the NEH grant in 2010. The college and community raised over $400,000 locally to meet the "match" goal of $200,000 from NEH. The KCTCS Foundation will also provide approximately $400,000 to match the locally raised funds for a total of $1 million dollars to support humanities enriching activities for students and the Greater Owensboro community. Enrichment activities in collaboration with community partners include the OCTC Common Reading Project and other global studies, multicultural, and related activities and events.

OCTC's Common Reading program was recognized by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) as a program deserving Honorable Mention. NAS publishes the nation's only comprehensive list of the books in college common reading programs. The newest edition, Beach Books 2016-2017: What Do Colleges Want Students to Read Outside Class?, lists and analyzes 359 assignments at 348 colleges located in 46 states. According to authors of the report, "Owensboro Community and Technical College includes 'local talent' as part of its mission statement-and the result has been a series of books that vary considerably from the staples of the common reading genre, and are frequently more challenging than those selected by their peers." Commenting on OCTC's overall list of past Common Reading selections, authors note, "This is a good common reading list-and the good effect that comes from introducing students to fine works of Kentucky writing seems to have a spillover effect. The non-local selections also include gems such as Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Owensboro's history of common reading selections compares favorably with those of most of its peers-and we believe its mission statement's inclusion of 'local talent' has played a large, necessary role in giving Owensboro's common reading program a very high batting average."

OCTC's Tonya Northenor is one of the co-chairs of the program and was interviewed for the article, a transcript of the interview is posted on the NAS website.