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Texas State University

Previous Books

Journeys Beyond Words, 2004-2019

We provide all incoming first-year students with a powerful Common Reading book related to the year's theme. Students discuss the book in University Seminar and other courses.

Book cover: What the Eyes Don't See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Current: 2019-2020
What the Eyes Don't See

A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City

by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
(New York: One World, 2019)
2019-2020 Common Experience Theme:
TRUTH

Book cover: The Runaway Species by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt

2018-2019
The Runaway Species

How Human Creativity Remakes the World

by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt
(New York: Catapult, 2018)
2018-2019 Common Experience Theme:
INNOVATION

Book cover: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

2017-2018
Just Mercy

A Story of Justice and Redemption

by Bryan Stevenson
(New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015)
2017-2018 Common Experience Theme:
THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE

Book cover: What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes

2016-2017
What It Is Like to Go to War

by Karl Marlantes
(New York: Grove Press, 2011)
2016-2017 Common Experience Theme:
A CENTURY OF CONFLICT

Book cover: y no se lo tragó la tierra / And the Earth Did Not Devour Him

2015-2016
...y no se lo tragó la tierra
...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him

by Tomás Rivera
(Berkeley: Quinto Sol, 1971; Houston: Arte Público, 2015)
2015-2016 Common Experience Theme:
BRIDGED THROUGH STORIES

Book cover: Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

2014-2015
Coming of Age in Mississippi

by Anne Moody
(New York: Doubleday, 1968; Bantam Dell, 1992)
2014-2015 Common Experience Theme:
EXPLORING DEMOCRACY'S PROMISE

Book cover: Behind Happy Faces by Ross Szabo and Melanie Hall

2013-2014
Behind Happy Faces

Taking Charge of Your Mental Health

by Ross Szabo and Melanie Hall
(Beverly Hills: Alegra, 2007)
2013-2014 Common Experience Theme:
MINDS MATTER

Book cover: Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman

2012-2013
Where Am I Wearing?

A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes

by Kelsey Timmerman
(Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012)
2012-2013 Common Experience Theme:
A GLOBAL ODYSSEY

Book cover: The United States Constituion: A Graphic Adaptation

2011-2012
The United States Constitution

A Graphic Adaptation

written by Jonathan Hennessey,
art by Aaron McConnell
(New York: Hill and Wang, 2008)
2011-2012 Common Experience Theme:
TRUTH

Book cover: No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

2010-2011
No Impact Man

by Colin Beavan
(New York: Picador, 2009)
2010-2011 Common Experience Theme:
SUSTAINABILITY

Book cover: A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

2009-2010
A Whole New Mind

Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

by Daniel H. Pink
(New York: Riverhead Trade, 2006)
2009-2010 Common Experience Theme:
THE WHOLE MIND

Book cover: Lyndon B. Johnson and the Transformation of American Politics

2008-2009
Lyndon B. Johnson and the Transformation of American Politics

by Dr. John L. Bullion
(New York: Pearson Longman, 2008)
2008-2009 Common Experience Theme:
CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY AND THE LEGACY OF LBJ

Book cover: Goodbye to a River by John Graves

2007-2008
Goodbye to a River

A Narrative

by John Graves
(New York: Alfred Knopf, 1960; Vintage, 2002)
2007-2008 Common Experience Theme:
THE WATER PLANET

Book cover: Zoot Suit and Other Plays by Luis Valdez

2006-2007
Zoot Suit and Other Plays

by Luis Valdez
(Houston: Arte Público, 1992)
2006-2007 Common Experience Theme:
PROTEST & DISSENT

Book cover: If I Die in a Combat Zone by Tim O'Brien

2005-2006
If I Die in a Combat Zone

by Tim O'Brien
(New York: Delacorte, 1973; Broadway, 1999)
2005-2006 Common Experience Theme:
COURAGE

Book cover: Night by Elie Wiesel

2004-2005
Night

by Elie Wiesel
(New York: Hill and Wang, 1960; Bantam, 1982)
2004-2005 Common Experience Theme:
HATRED