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Seton Hall University

Summer Reading

2019 Summer Reading Book: Educated

Educated book cover

This year's book is Educated by Tara Westover.

Summer Reading Essay Contest

In Educated by Tara Westover, because of the influence that Tara's brother, Tyler, had on her when she was young, she mustered up the courage to take her ACTs and pursue a formal education. She said,

"…when I was with Tyler I was transformed…Somehow he made me see myself through his eyes…The seed of curiosity had been planted; it needed nothing more than time and boredom to grow. Sometimes when I was stripping copper from a radiator or throwing the five hundredth chunk of steel into the bin, I'd find myself imagining the classroom where Tyler was spending his days. My interest grew with every deadening hour in the junkyard, until one day I had the bizarre thought: that I should enroll in the public school" (p.46, 60-61).

Tyler silently and unknowingly became a role model for Tara. She felt both peace and stimulation when she listened to music with him and started reading with him. He became a transitional figure for her…a guide…someone who made her believe in herself and the potential she had beyond Buck's Peak.

Who has been this person for you? Write about a person in your life who believed in you in such a way that you were motivated to take on a project, enroll in a class, apply for a job, initiate a friendship, etc. that you wouldn't have without that encouragement. Who is the Tyler in your life? How were you tested and transformed?

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 9, 2019. All submissions should be saved with your first and last name on the top pf the essay and an attached Microsoft Word document. Email your essays to Winners will be announced at Convocation on Sunday, August 25, 2019.

Prizes Include:

  • One First Place winner will receive a $400.00 gift card to the Seton Hall Bookstore
  • One Honorable Mention winner will 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:

  • 2018: Coming of Age at the End Of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet by Julie Dunlap and Susan Cohen
  • 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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