New USA Common Read Book Named for 2014-2015 Academic Year


Posted on June 11, 2014 by Joy Washington
Joy Washington


Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project
Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project

A committee representing University of South Alabama students, faculty, and staff has selected “Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project,” first published in 2007. This book, edited, with an introduction by Dave Isay, will serve as the 2014-2015 book selection for the USA Common Read/Common World program.

Four years ago, StoryCorps set out to record an oral history of America with the voices of everyday people. This book is a collection of the most compelling excerpts from more than 10,000 interviews recorded and compiled by StoryCorps founder of Isay, Flophouse, a radio documentary producer and MacArthur fellow.

Each story captures a moment in time, which is historical, emotional or personal. A copy of the tape is filed in the Library of Congress, and parts have aired on National Public Radio. Isay’s vision of collecting the everyday stories of Americans is so simple and yet so powerful. “Listening is an Act of Love” will make you laugh, cry and think. These stories come from the souls of individual Americans.

“Listening fits the parameters established for USA’s Common Read program to include  the following:

  • Potential to engage students and spark discussion
  • Appeal to a wide range of students
  • Possibilities for classroom use including the first year experience classes
  • Inclusion of cross-cultural education, awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity
  • Possibilities for campus programming
  • Relevance for student life

Common Read/Common World is a University-wide program that is a partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Dr. Krista Harrell, associate dean of students and Dr. Allan Hillman, assistant professor of philosophy will serve as program co-chairs. Dr. Nicole Carr, director of student academic success/retention will provide faculty support.

Fifteen titles were reviewed by the committee before selecting “Listening is an Act of Love. Other institutions that have used this book include the University of Mississippi, UNC Charlotte, Iowa State University, University of Toledo, and Evergreen State College.


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