2012 Common Reader Selection Announcement


Photograph by Hannah Godwin



AC Selects The Worst Hard Time as Common Reader

Amarillo College is pleased to announce that its Common Reader for 2012-2013 will be The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.

The selection positions AC’s Common Reader Program to join a community-wide examination of the Dust Bowl, a regionally significant period of severe dust storms on the Great Plains in the 1930s that Egan recounts in his 2006 masterpiece, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

The Common Reader Program is designed to utilize one book to help ease the transition of new students to the College environment, and copies of the book will be distributed to incoming students prior to the upcoming fall semester.

The entire College community will be encouraged to read The Worst Hard Time and use its contents to engage the newcomers.

A collaboration featuring AC’s KACV-TV, Amarillo Public Library, Region 16, Amarillo Independent School District, Amarillo Museum of Art, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum—and now AC’s Common Reader Program—will sponsor appearances by Egan in Amarillo on Oct. 11.

Egan will be guest of honor that day at an AC luncheon. A reception for the author is planned that evening at the Amarillo Museum of Art, followed by his public lecture at the Amarillo Civic Center.

“Mr. Egan’s book focuses on a unique period of history in the Texas Panhandle and in America,” Courtney Milleson, director of Student Success Programs and chair of the Common Reader Team, said.

“The goal of the Common Reader is to promote student success by engaging them as learners in an academic community. I think this book presents us with an opportunity to do just that as offshoot discussions can and will range from the environment and our history, to economics, science and more.”

AC’s Common Reader Team originally narrowed its selection to Egan’s literary achievement and to Leadership by Rudy Giuliani: both gentlemen will visit Amarillo in October. However, when it became evident that Giuliani’s 2002 bestseller is out of print and unobtainable in bulk, the choice was easy.

“We were going to have a great selection either way,” Milleson said. “We’re delighted with the result, especially how it fits perfectly with an initiative already under way at our PBS television station.”

AC’s KACV-TV, which in November will air The Dust Bowl, a new documentary by Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Ken Burns, hosted Burns in April and taped an exclusive and detailed conversation with him that will air locally this summer.

Previous selections in AC’s Common Reader series have been:

2011-2012 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

2010-2011 Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley

2009-2010 Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parado

2008-2009 All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg


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