University of Southern Indiana

Bonding Through Books

How it works

  • Certain incoming freshmen are mailed a copy of a book that is [sometimes] coordinated with the Evansville One Book, One Community program, a city-wide program giving USI students an opportunity to connect with the Evansville community.
  • A meeting takes place the weekend before school begins in the fall for a luncheon and book discussion.
  • The book is used in the first semester courses along with authors as guest speakers.
  • Often there is an essay contest, award symposium, and guest lecture event associated with this program.
  • The program is part of the Living-Learning Communities program

Previous books

2008-2009 ~ This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Womenedited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (2006)

This collection of essays from the 1950s and today is based on the National Public Radio series of the same name. Information about the series and the book is available on the This I Believe website.

2007 ~ Fast Food Nation

2005 and 2006 ~ The Glass Castle, A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle tells of the poor, nomadic childhood Walls [a reporter for MSNBC] shared with her three siblings, eating butter for dinner, making her own braces, and suffering the whims of her artistic, intelligent, and utterly selfish parents. The title of the book is taken from her gambling, alcoholic father’s promise that he would build them a magical, perfect glass castle in which to live.

2004 If Life is a Game, These are the Rules

2003 ~ Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom

2002 ~ Comrades: Brothers, Fathers, Heroes, Sons, Pals (2000), Chapter 7, “A Lifetime of Friends,” pp. 75-90, by Stephen E. Ambrose

This tender book about male friendship will probably surprise those readers who know Stephen Ambrose best for his histories of World War II and biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Born in 1936, Ambrose acknowledges in the introduction to his memoir that men of his generation do not speak or write easily about their feelings. Yet male bonding is a strong theme in all of his work, as selections from previous writings on Lewis and Clark, Richard Nixon, Crazy Horse, and General Custer that are included in Comrades prove. What is more interesting, however, is the more personal material on Ambrose's two brothers (their youthful competitiveness mellowed into mature devotion), fellow historian Gordon Mueller ("my dearest and closest friend"), and several college buddies. After losing touch with each other during the harried years of career building and child rearing, these men rediscovered intimacy in middle age. Most moving of all is the closing chapter on Ambrose's father, an old-fashioned authority figure and disciplinarian quick to criticize his sons, but always available to sustain and guide them. The warming of that rather stern relationship is clearly one of the great joys of his son's adult life. It makes a fitting finale to a dignified but strikingly sweet memoir. --Wendy Smith – [excerpted from]

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