The selected work, The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henríquez, is a fictional tale about two immigrant families—one from Mexico and one from Panama—who come to America in search of better lives. The book was one of the New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books of 2014, one of Amazon’s Top 10 Books of 2014, and one of O magazine’s fifteen Must-Read Books of 2014.
Life of the Mind is part of First-Year Studies 100, a zero-credit pass-fail class that gives students their first taste of college studies and requires them to complete online lessons on topics including alcohol awareness, financial literacy, plagiarism, technology, civility, and succeeding at UT. As part of the program, freshmen are asked to read the book, complete a written response, participate in a Welcome Week discussion session, and attend an event where the author speaks.
Discussion leaders are asked to read the book, lead a small group of students in critical thinking discussions on August 17, and review the students’ analytical and creative responses. Leaders will attend a professional development workshop in early to mid-August on the novel in preparation for the discussion sessions.
Discussion leaders will be provided a copy of the book and will be invited to attend both the Life of the Mind assembly where Henríquez will speak and the author breakfast, a smaller affair with the writer. Faculty, staff, and graduate students are encouraged to volunteer to be discussion leaders.
Sign up to be a discussion leader on the First-Year Studies website.