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‘Salvage the Bones’ Selected for ASU Campus Common Reader Initiative

Image associated with the ‘Salvage the Bones’ Selected for ASU Campus Common Reader Initiative news item

Author: Lois G. Russell

Release Date: Jun 02, 2017

Jesmyn Ward’s “Salvage the Bones” has been selected as the common reader for ASU’s incoming freshmen and the campus community.


ASU’s Class of 2021 will take part in the University’s Campus Common Reader Initiative (CCRI) through the pages of Jesmyn Ward’s novel, “Salvage the Bones.”

Each member of the University’s incoming class of freshmen will receive a copy of the book.

“This year's book selection focuses on the sense of community and cultural awareness in the midst of unmasked devastation in a small Southern, rural area,” said Dr. Courtney Griffin, ASU’s vice president of Enrollment Management. “Highlighting the values of family honor, sacrifice and perseverance makes ‘Salvage the Bones’ an excellent choice as the University aims to empower and inspire its first-year students, faculty, parents and community.”

“Salvage the Bones” is a National Book Award-winning novel about a poor Mississippi family in the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

“Jesmyn Ward's book has been generously praised by such critics as Alabama Public Radio's Don Noble who calls the novel ‘smart and powerful,’” said Dr. Darryn Moten, chair of ASU’s Department of History and Political Science. “Set in a black Mississippi Gulf town devastated by Hurricane Katrina, “Salvage the Bones” probes the contours of poverty and all its vulnerabilities. We selected this book because it is beautifully written, showing the confluence between reading, writing and speaking. The CCRI understands and underscores that reading is part and parcel to a student's academic and career success.”

Moten said one of the goals of the reading initiative is to engage the campus community in conversations about significant national topics.

“In ‘Salvage the Bones,’ that topic is poverty which Katrina exposed in alarming ways,” said Moten. “The hurricane destroyed approximately 284,000 homes, displacing millions. We know this because ASU welcomed and took in students and faculty members from Xavier University in New Orleans, the nation's only Catholic HBCU, when Katrina’s flood waters inundated that campus.”

Griffin said the CCRI and “Salvage the Bones” will be a central part of the freshman experience throughout the upcoming academic year.

“The book includes discussion questions which will be incorporated into freshman orientation classes, as well as other year-long programming to engage not only the incoming freshman class, but the campus community as well,” said Griffin. “Continuing the CCRI at Alabama State this year will allow us to actively engage with our first-year students based upon a common intellectual foundation that highlights family values, morals and beliefs sure to impact the social and cultural development of our students.”

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