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04/01/2015

Incoming Freshmen Will Read a Nomadic Tale for the Common Book Project

Quick Facts

 This biography of Walls’ early years details a nomadic life with parents whose own mental/emotional problems expose their children to poverty, homelessness, hunger, sporadic education, rat-infested dwellings with no plumbing and non-existent health care.
 Selecting a global common read was a commitment made when Winthrop adopted the Global Learning Initiative in 2011.

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Gloria Jones
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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Winthrop University’s Common Book for the 2015-16 academic year is "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls.

This biography of Walls’ early years details a nomadic life with parents whose own mental/emotional problems expose their children to poverty, homelessness, hunger, sporadic education, rat-infested dwellings with no plumbing and non-existent health care. Moving from Phoenix – where climate was her friend – to Nevada and eventually to the hills of West Virginia, Walls writes about how her father’s delusions of grandeur and alcohol addiction and her mother’s seeming indifference left the children to fend for themselves.

Walls’ survival and drive to change her life serves as a model of resilience and an inspiration to overcome hardship.

Selecting a global common read was a commitment made when Winthrop adopted the Global Learning Initiative in 2011. As the fourth intentionally selected global Common Book, "The Glass Castle" differs from Winthrop’s most recent three selections in that it is not set in a foreign country. It does, however, adhere closely to the university’s adopted definition of “global”: “local, regional, national, and/or international experiences that may differ from one’s own culture.”

New students will receive the Common Book selection at Orientation sessions in June. The Common Book Project, in place at Winthrop since 2004, works to integrate Winthrop students into the university environment and offers them a common intellectual experience that upholds Winthrop’s strong academic values.

While a number of students, faculty and staff have experienced at least one of the aforementioned hurdles, few have encountered all that Walls overcame.

“This book will help our students understand a life that is very different from their own and also show them that even the worst of circumstances do not dictate all of one’s choices,” said Gloria Jones, dean of Winthrop’s University College and a member of the Common Book selection committee. “In line with the goals of the Human Experience course in which this book is infused, students will examine the impact of an uninvolved community, a dearth of formal education, a harsh natural world and a lack of exposure to spiritual matters on the life of one individual.”

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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