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Seton Hall University

Summer Reading

2018 Summer Reading Book: Coming of Age at the End Of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet

Hidden Figures

This year's book is Coming of Age at the End Of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet by Julie Dunlap and Susan Cohen.

Summer Reading Essay Contest

In Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet, James Orbesen writes: "Weren't children instructed, over and over, by their elders to pick up their toys and to clean their room? Those lessons came from some deep –seated impulse of taking responsibility for messes and spills" (p. 58). Describe a time in your own life when you challenged yourself and/or others to take responsibility for your/their own messes and spills. Based upon your experience of trying "[to take] responsibility for messes and spills"—and making connections to the perspectives from two or three of the essays from the book—develop your own idea about what taking responsibility means.

Respond in an essay of 2-3 typed pages (please use double spacing and 12-point font). All quotes or paraphrased material from the text must be cited with page numbers.

Submit your entry by Friday, August 10, 2018. All submissions should be saved with your first and last name on the top of the essay and an attached Microsoft Word document. Email your essays to Winners will be announced at Convocation on Sunday, August 26, 2018.


One First Place winner will receive a $400.00 gift card to the Seton Hall Bookstore.

Two Honorable Mention winners will each receive a $100.00 gift card to the Seton Hall Bookstore

Summer Reading Program

Seton Hall University's first year students begin their common learning experience in the summer before their freshman year when they participate in the Summer Reading Program. Since 2003, incoming freshmen have been required to read a text that is selected for its ability to generate thoughtful discussion. The nominated text is then discussed in all ENGL 1201 and University Life classes, and some CORE 1101 classes. The Summer Reading Program not only introduces students to academic life at SHU, but also fosters student engagement. 

Previous Selections:

  • 2017: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • 2016: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
  • 2015: The Ledge by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan
  • 2014: Radium Girls by D.W. Gregory
  • 2013: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • 2012: This I Believe
  • 2011: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Jennifer Skloot
  • 2010: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  • 2009: Listening is an Act of Love by Dave Isay
  • 2008: Left to Tell by Imaculee Ilibagiza
  • 2007: The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
  • 2006: The Poetry of Billy Collins
  • 2005: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
  • 2004: Sounds of the River by Da Chen
  • 2003: An American Story by Debra Dickerson
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