Common Reading

Dear Members of the Mount Holyoke Community,

On behalf of New Student Orientation and the Common Reading Committee, I am pleased to announce the selection of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz as the Common Reading for the 2013/2014 academic year.  This selection is a dynamic character study that explores self-awareness, difference, and transition. Oscar Wao’s journey provides our community with the opportunity to explore the various lenses of feminism and masculinity in a multicultural context. The story allows readers to contemplate the ways in which we each create our own path as we balance our values within the tradition-steeped communities in which we all live.   

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, Díaz’s novel was said by The New York Times to have “a wild, capacious spirit.” The Boston Globe acclaimed Díaz and his novel as “Graceful and raw and painful and smart... His prose is sensible poetry that moves like an interesting conversations...The pages turn, and all of a sudden you’re done and you want more.” 

The hope of New Student Orientation and the Common Reading Committee is to have selected a piece that will challenge, delight, and allow space for introspection and reflection for our new students as they start their Mount Holyoke lives. We encourage the entire community to dive into this complex novel and to join us in a talk with Junot Díaz on September 30. 

We look forward to connecting students, staff, faculty, and alumnae in our community through participation in dialogue and discussion around this vibrant tale. 

Happy Reading!

Rene Davis
Dean of Students