This academic year’s selection for The College Reads!, the College of Charleston’s campuswide reading program, is The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman.

In the 2011 book, Fishman explores humanity’s relationship with water, from a sewage tank to the bottling facilities of San Pellegrino in Italy.

This year’s selection should have additional importance to the CofC community as new industries place increasing demands on the Lowcountry’s aquifers and daily news reports highlight lead contamination in aging school districts across the country and the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The Big Thirst was also selected in conjunction with the inaugural theme of the College’s new quality-enhancement plan: water.

Fishman, a longtime journalist whose byline has appeared in The Washington Post, The (Raleigh, North Carolina) News & Observer and business magazine Fast Company, is also the writer of the bestseller The Wal-Mart Effect. As part of The College Reads! program, he’ll lead a presentation on The Big Thirst at Sotille Theatre at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2017.

This year marks the 16th year the College community has come together to read a single book for the program designed to promote the idea that liberally educated people read broadly and discuss with one another ideas arising from the books they share. All faculty and incoming students are encouraged to read this selection, as it will be connected to the academic curriculum and campus activities throughout the academic year, beginning at Convocation 2017, when incoming students will turn in their convocation essays about the book.

All incoming students and roster faculty receive a copy of the book. Additional copies are made available for borrowing and sharing across campus. Get more information about The College Reads! program, the author, events, past book selections and how to participate here.