Our Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community and foster personal growth by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations. 


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (the author of the bestseller The Hate U Give ) is the story of fighting for your dreams, and of the harsh truth  of poor and working-class black families.  The novel is set in the same fictional community, Garden Heights, as The Hate U Give, but author Thomas turns her attention to the world of hip-hop, focusing on a new protagonist Brianna, a talented teenager and hip hop rapper.

Discussion: April 4, 2020 at 10:00 AM via ZOOM led by Liz deBeer

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Washington Black by Esi Edugyun

is an exciting coming of age novel about an enslaved boy in the West Indies who is mentored by a kind scientist who is the brother of his evil master.   Painful, funny, exciting and magical, it is at once an excellent adventure tale and an inquiry into the complexity of interracial relationships.

Discussion: May 2, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Past Common Reads

  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz OR An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers
  • Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant
  • Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • The Book of Joy by Desmund Tutu & Dalai Lama
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  • Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning and Connection for the America We Want by Frances Moore Lappe & Adam Eichen
  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics by Jonathan Haidt
  • Beyond Words: What Animals Think & Feel by Carl Safina
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
  • The Third Reconstruction by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II
  • Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War
  • LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Behind the Kitchen Door by Sarumathi Jayaraman
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander