Campus News

UW-Madison accepting suggestions for next year’s Go Big Read

Last year’s Go Big Read book choice, J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy,” detailed a man’s struggles growing up in poverty in Ohio and Appalachian Kentucky.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

If you’ve read a good book recently and think others should read it, too, UW-Madison wants to know the title.

UW-Madison’s Go Big Read program — now in its 10th year — is accepting book suggestions for the 2018-2019 school year. The program, which has become one of the largest college common reading programs in the country, will accept submissions until Dec. 15.

Suggested books can be fiction or nonfiction, but should center around “contemporary issues” that matter today, according to program project manager Sheila Stoeckel. Stoeckel said an ideal book is readable, relevant, has depth, appeals to people of many backgrounds and is conducive to learning.

Stoeckel said the idea of letting students suggest books is important. After all, the final book will be handed out to the year’s incoming freshman class.

“We try to make sure [the suggestion period] is always open while students are [on campus],” Stoeckel said. “We love to get student input on titles that they are interested in.”

Last year’s book choice, J.D. Vance’s New York Times Bestseller “Hillbilly Elegy,” detailed a man’s struggles growing up in poverty in Ohio and Appalachian Kentucky. The book received both backlash for being tough on those in poverty and praise for telling a tale of overcoming adversity.

According to Stoeckel, a review committee of faculty, staff and students reads through the suggested list of books. The committee then narrows down the recommended books to a “manageable list.” The books are read and analyzed “in-depth” before a curated list is given to the chancellor, who makes the final decision as to what the year’s Go Big Read book will be.

Although the university has only just started accepting recommendations for next year’s Go Big Read title, Stoeckel said the program has already received “at least a dozen” book nominations, but this is not unusual, she said.

“We typically get several to many hundred nominations,” Stoeckel said. “I would expect to see that again.”

Those who wish to make a book suggestion should visit:

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