Read Along With Duke

June 1, 2007

Whether you're already a long-standing member of a book club or simply drawn to intellectual discourse, a new program called Duke Reads offers a number of enticing reasons to join other Duke alumni and friends for a series of book-related conversations. Sponsored by the Duke University Libraries and the Duke Alumni Association (DAA), Duke Reads features a monthly book selection chosen by a prominent member of the Duke community who will lead an online discussion. The program will launch this fall and run throughout the academic year. The first selection, The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson, is also the assigned reading for the first-year student reading program.

Rachel Davies '72, A.M. '89, DAA director of alumni education and travel, says that the program provides an opportunity for multigenerational, interdisciplinary conversations around such topics as evolutionary biology, race relations, and American culture. "Through Duke Reads, an alumna in China, an engineering graduate student, and a Duke staff member can share their questions and insights about the same book in real time, without leaving their houses."

Those selecting the books to be read include Richard H. Brodhead, president; Thomas Ferraro, professor of English; Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and vice provost for library affairs; Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of conservation ecology in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences; Reynolds Price '55, James B. Duke Professor of English; and Anne Firor Scott, W.K. Boyd Professor Emerita of history.

"Sharing insights through a common book will bring alumni together in entirely new ways," says Jakubs. "Duke Reads presents a fine opportunity for the libraries to partner with the Duke Alumni Association to strengthen the ties within our wider Duke community while promoting intellectual inquiry and stimulating discussion."

Davies encourages prospective participants to register at www.dukereads.com to receive e-mail updates and discussion questions. The website features links to the Gothic Bookshop, which will stock the books, as well as updated information about the assigned books and the monthly online discussions.
Other partners in the Duke Reads venture include Duke Magazine , Duke University Press, the English department, the First-Year Reading Program, and the Office of Student Affairs.