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Academic Year 2012 - 2013 Common Reading

For the past twelve years, LaGuardia Community College has had a college-wide common reading program. A committee consisting of members of the faculty and library has chosen a book that could be used in various classes. The goal of the program is to explore the themes presented in the selected reading through different disciplinary lenses. With the generous support of the administration, we have been able to make a free copy available to every student whose professors have decided to teach the chosen text. Past readings have been discussed in a wide range of courses including biology, sociology, history, philosophy, English and veterinary science. LaGuardia’s College-wide Common Reading for 2012-2013 is Dave Egger’s Zeitoun. It is a gripping story of a man who stayed behind in New Orleans once Hurricane Katrina hit to make sure his house, his business and community remained secure. For all his good intentions, he came face to face not only with the natural devastation of the storm, but also an ineffective bureaucratic organization and a Kafkaesque justice system put in place in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The book was extremely readable and also captured the multidisciplinarity of the best common reading choices. Themes found in the book include natural disasters, ecology, immigration, Muslims in the United States, racism, the role of government, urban development, post-9/11 justice system and a long tradition of prisons in the South. This website offers an overview of some possible ways to discuss the issues found in Zeitoun. There will be events throughout the year that will focus on certain aspects of the book. These are only starting points for the possible directions the book could take the reader. Enjoy Zeitoun.

Elizabeth McCormick and Demetrios Kapetanakos
Co-chairs of the 2012-2013 College-wide Common Reading Committee