The campus community is invited to help select a College Reads book for 2021.

The College Reads! is the College of Charleston’s campus-wide co-curricular common reading program designed to connect students, faculty and staff around a single book to promote the idea that liberally educated people read broadly and discuss with one another ideas arising from the books they share. All incoming students, peer educators and permanent faculty receive a copy of the book. Additional copies are made available for borrowing and sharing widely across campus.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to recommend titles for 2021 and to get involved by serving on The College Reads (TCR) committee and/or providing feedback on the titles recommended for selection.

In soliciting recommendations for books, The College Reads Committee welcomes works of fiction and non-fiction; several titles within a single theme; or other innovative ideas. For example, your book idea might support a broad concept like “justice.” The committee is also interested in receiving book nominations that profile individuals whose actions ignited social change or whose contribution to a social movement or significant discovery has been overlooked. For several years, the TCR committee has been looking for the right book to open discussion on climate change and/or climate migration. Books that advance our collective understanding of race, racism, anti-racism broadly or more locally in the Charleston context would be welcome. The TCR committee tries to be attentive to diversity among authors and invites you to do the same. Books are welcome from any topic area that you believe will advance the goals of the program.

Regardless of the book’s topic, please be mindful of the selection criteria below when submitting your recommendations:

  • Intellectually stimulating – a book that stretch students’ minds, causes students to think about topics or issues they might not have encountered before, or a book that engages familiar themes in a new way.
  • Readable — a book that is enjoyable, engaging, and of a manageable length (typically <350 pages)
  • A living author — one of the highlights of The CollegeReads! is a public lecture by the book’s author and an opportunity for students who have read the book to meet with the author in small groups.
  • Provocative — a book that will provoke discussion across campus; one that will provide a way for multiple departments and campus constituencies to develop engaging co-curricular activities throughout the academic year.
  • Relevant — a book with a topic or theme that will resonate with the campus; a book in which students can locate themselves, their lives, and their futures.

To recommend a book, please complete this short recommendation form.This will allow the committee to keep track of submissions and give every book its full consideration. Please consult the Past Books list to be sure your title hasn’t been featured in a previous year.

Please try to make your nominations prior to Oct. 1, 2020. However, the committee is open to receiving book nominations up until the selection has been made.

This fall, The College Reads Committee is meeting virtually every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Anyone is welcome to participate in the selection process by serving on the TCR committee or by simply reading books from the list of recommendations and providing the committee with feedback. The committee maintains an open selection process designed to accommodate people who cannot attend weekly committee meetings by posting the list of books under active consideration with updates after each meeting on The College Reads website. You can read more about the process and view the committee’s timeline of selection on TCR website under the heading “Participate.” If you are interested in joining the committee, please email for the zoom link.

The 2020 program is successfully underway with The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border by Francisco Cantu. Incoming students were mailed the book prior to virtual orientation along with a Reading Guide and a convocation essay assignment. Convocation discussions with faculty centered on a variety of themes in the book and students produced a compelling set of essays.

Francisco Cantu will deliver his public talk virtually on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at 7 p.m. You can find details of his visit as they are finalized and information about all upcoming events on The College Reads! website.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College closed before book could be distributed to departments. If you or your department would like copies of The Line Becomes a River please stop by New Student Programs or email