Common Reading 2018

During Orientation, the first-year class and many others in the Bates community will share the experience of reading the selected Common Reading for this year, Real American: A Memoir, by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

A committee of Bates students, faculty, and staff met throughout the fall and early winter to consider and review a wide range of books to use as the Common Reading this year. After considerable deliberation, we chose Real American for a number of reasons. With exploration of identity and who we are at the forefront of the minds of entering college students, Real American offers timely and accessible insight. Additionally, as you embark upon the start of your time in college,  Lythcott-Haims’ journey and work provide an incredible example of the ways that we grow and change over time and the ways in which we understand our identities in new contexts.

We hope that you will enthusiastically engage with the project of considering your own identity and welcome conversation with those in your new community into which you are about to arrive. In your four years, within our beloved liberal arts community, it is our hope that you will have opportunity for your understanding of yourself and others to be questioned, reinforced, challenged, supported, complicated, and affirmed.

We ask that you dive into this wonderful selection prior to your arrival in August. As you do, consider all the viewpoints presented and reflect upon your own life experiences as you prepare to embark upon the intellectual and personal journey that awaits you at Bates.

You should be able to find Real American: A Memoir (2017) at your local bookstore, wherever you regularly purchase books, or via the Bates College Store.

We can’t wait to see you and start the conversation. In the meantime, enjoy the book and your summer.

Warm regards,

Margaret Imber, Associate Dean of the Faculty

Carrie Murphey, Assistant Dean of Students for First-Year Experience and Housing