The College Reads! book selection for 2013-14 is Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel. All faculty and incoming students are encouraged to read this selection as it will be included in the academic curriculum and in activities throughout the year. Alison Bechdel will be on campus Thursday, October 24, 2013. The public lecture will be at 7:00pm that evening.
Published in 2006 this award-winning book is a memoir in the form of a graphic novel. Fun Home is a coming of age story centered on Bechdel’s complex relationship with her father, a high school English teacher and director of the town funeral home (the “Fun Home”). In college, Alison comes out as a lesbian and learns her father is gay. By retelling her story, she is able to come to terms with herself, her sexual identity, and her relationship with her father.
“This book will open important conversations about identity, diversity, sexuality, and finding one’s place in the world,” explains Provost George Hynd. “The themes of Fun Home support the Diversity Strategic Plan, the creation of the Gender Resource Center on campus, and speak volumes about our commitment to an open campus climate for all students. Students who have read the book are very excited about the choice.”
Fun Home spent two weeks on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction bestseller list and was named one of the best books of 2006 by numerous sources, including The New York Times, amazon.com, The Times of London, Publishers Weekly, salon.com, New York magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. Time magazine named Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home number one of its “10 Best Books of the Year.” Fun Home was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award in the memoir/autobiography category.
In Fun Home, Bechdel’s life story is told as a series of flashbacks. Through these flashbacks, Alison and the reader are able to reassess each situation from new and different perspectives. Throughout the book, she grapples with finding a voice and a way to tell her own story, while realizing that she’s part of other ongoing narratives—her family’s story, the tradition of literature, and the world of art and ideas.
The First Year Experience, the Honors College, and the Center for Excellence in Peer Education will partner with the Office of Institutional Diversity to support current students in developing a reader’s guide and planning activities for next academic year.
The College Reads! is the College of Charleston’s common reading program. Each year, The College Reads! engages and connects thousands of students, faculty and staff around a single book to promote the idea that liberally educated people read broadly and discuss with one another ideas arising from the books they share. All first year students, tenured and tenure-track faculty, long-time adjunct faculty, instructors and senior instructors, FYE Peer Facilitators, Residence Hall Directors, and Resident Assistants receive the book selection each year. The book will be widely available for continuing students through the library, Liberty cafeteria, and other browsing locations.