University selects freshmen reading experience novel

Murray State has chosen “Never Let Me Go,” a science-fiction novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, for the 2012-2013 Freshmen Reading Experience (FRE).

The novel, which was awarded the best novel of 2005 by TIME magazine, tells the story of Ruth, Tommy and Kathy, who all attend the same boarding school in England. The book is divided into three parts- “Childhood”, “Adult” and “Donor,” which preview the stages of life the children are experiencing and how being clones affect their lives.

Paul Walker, an assistant professor in the department of English, said the book was the perfect choice due to its relatable aspects.

“It is intriguing, beautifully written, and draws the reader into the story slowly, which allows the reader to become emotionally connected to the characters as the events unfold,” Walker said. “Additionally, the book raises interesting questions regarding the lengths our society may go to our way of life.”

Walker, an officer of the reading experience, said the book, although entertaining, can have the reader make reflections of their own life.

“So as to not give away details that may ruin the experience of reading the book, “Never Let Me Go” is science fiction that reads as if it has already happened and is still happening in our own ordinary world,” he said.

The English department, which oversees the reading experience, has already set up a poetry workshop, a printmaking workshop and a film festival, which are just a few events planned to encourage involvement in the FRE.

Joshua Adair, an assistant professor in the department of English, said the main theme of the book, the knowledge of mortality, was one of the reasons why they chose the novel.

“Our official theme for the year is ‘Humanity and the Humanities,’ so there will be a lot of great events happening throughout the entire year that explore this theme and its connections to Never Let Me Go,” he said. “Professor David Canning will also be giving a talk about bioethics.”

Adair, the coordinator of the University’s reading experience, said the novel will be another addition to the University’s history of challenging students to think on a broader topic. He said that Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” promises to be another thought-provoking, intellectually challenging selection that will have the whole campus talking about it.

Jeff Osborne, a professor in the department of English, said the book was chosen after suggestions were sent to the reading experience committee. He said that there is a process that involves nominating books and evaluating them based on certain criteria, a process that anyone in the University can participate in.

Osborne, an officer in the committee, said he was glad the novel was picked due to the topics it explores.

“I’m happy the book was chosen because it provokes thinking about a lot of issues that people think they already know the answers to,” he said. “They don’t. This book, then, poses a real challenge … the challenge to think.”

Don Robertson, the vice-president of student affairs, said that the reading experience was first created to unite the students.

Said Robertson: “Many schools would give a reading list before the students actually come to school; with the expectation you would have read these books prior to stepping foot in a classroom. If you did not, you were put in a disadvantage. Our program offered one reading book, one experience, which you will read and use throughout the year.”