By Bev Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education

PULLMAN, Wash. – Nominations for the 2019‑20 WSU common reading book are now open, announced Susan Poch, co‑director of the Common Reading Program, with submissions accepted through Nov. 2.

The theme for the 2019‑20 and 2020‑21 common reading books is “global stability, scarcity and security.” Every book nominated must align with this theme. All nominations will be posted on the Common Reading Program site within a few days of receipt.

Everyone is encouraged to consider submitting the name of a good book that fits the theme and reasons why it would be the best choice for freshmen and others to read and use in classes and beyond.

Common reading books make a huge impact on thousands of students across the WSU campuses, generating thousands of conversations.

An online nomination form can be found at the Common Reading website.

“The next book will be the thirteenth in as many years,” said Susan Poch, co‑director of the program with Karen Weathermon since 2007. “Thousands of WSU students have gone through the program since it began, and benefitted from classroom discussions and faculty‑ and guest‑expert lectures based on topics raised in each book.

“The common reading helps first‑year and other students experience new ideas and create new and academically focused networks with professors and other students. The program is carefully designed to stimulate critical thinking and strengthen forms of communication around a single book.”

Nomination requirements

Faculty and staff nominating books must provide a moderate amount of information:

  • How does the book fit the theme?
  • How does it apply to a broad range of disciplines?
  • How does it connect readers to, for example, existing university research, civic engagement areas and global initiatives?
  • How many pages does the book have?
  • Is it available in paperback?
  • Is it a realistic read for freshmen?

Additional questions are posed in the online form.

Selection process

Because the common reading is a universitywide initiative, with every campus participating, selections will be made from a single list of nominations.

“Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything” was the book selected for 2018‑19.

Weathermon explains that from titles nominated, each book is evaluated by members of an interdisciplinary, cross‑campus selection committee. It narrows the list to a few titles and produces a short list just a few months later. In Pullman, the university provost, as the top academic officer, makes the final selection.

Faculty plan how they will use the book in classes the next fall semester while the program, departments, residence halls and organizations line up a series of events and presentations that often run throughout spring semester.

For more on the program and to nominate a book, go to the Common Reading website.

If you are unable to access the online form, submission questions are listed on the bottom of the nominations webpage. Submissions can be emailed to