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USU Selects 'Zeitoun' for the 2011 Common Literature Experience

Thursday, Mar. 03, 2011

'Zeitoun' book cover

Each year Utah State University sponsors the Common Literature Experience for incoming freshman enrolled in USU 1010 — Connections — as well as community members. This year’s selection is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, and all are invited to join in reading this epic book, said Noelle Call, director of USU’s Office of Retention and Student Services.

Below is the description of Zeitoun by The Princeton Book Review.

“Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.”

“The university and local community will find much to discuss from the book,” Call said. “There are strong themes about identity and perspective, how we see ourselves and others, how our impressions of another can affect his or her identity, and how our identity can change over time. There are many examples of how humans behave during times of extreme duress and how one’s values can be tested. The committee especially believed that the first-year students will relate to these themes in their own lives and as they transition to their new academic environment.”

Kathy Zeitoun, who is featured in the book, is this year’s Common Literature Experience Convocation speaker. The convocation is held on the last day of Connections, Aug. 27, 9:30 a.m., in the Kent Concert Hall on the Utah State University Logan campus.

Contact: Noelle Call,

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