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“The Things They Carried” Selected for Appalachian’s Summer Reading Program

062102obrian_dl.jpgby Crystal Thompson

BOONE–Appalachian State University’s 2002 summer reading program selection is “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.

Incoming freshmen will receive the book during summer orientation and read it prior to the start of classes in August.

The book takes its title from the personal items soldiers carried with them during the Vietnam War. It tells the story of the members of Alpha Company who were killed and those who survived the war.

This book is not just about war, but also is about human relations.

O’Brien, a Minnesota native, was a foot soldier in Vietnam from 1969-70.

“The Things They Carried” received France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. He received the 1979 National Book Award for “Going After Cacciato.”

O’Brien will be the guest speaker at Appalachian’s Fall Convocation on Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center. Admission is free.

In addition to his presentation at convocation, other activities associated with the reading program include a panel discussion with O’Brien in I.G. Greer Auditorium Sept. 5 at 1:30 p.m. and a reading and book signing in Grandfather Mountain Ballroom at 7:30 p.m.

On Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. O’Brien will talk about the writing process during a presentation in the Linville Falls Room in Plemmons Student Union.

To encourage others in the Watauga County area to read the book, a series of community events has been planned.

A panel of Vietnam veterans will speak at Watauga County Public Library

Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.

O’Brien will participate in a reading and book signing at Watauga County Public Library Sept. 6 at 2 p.m.

Caldwell Community College’s Watauga Division will host the program “Music of the Vietnam Era” in Room 112 at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Watauga campus.

There will be three one-hour discussions of “The Ideas We Carry” Sept. 10 and 11 from 2 -5 p.m., in Plemmons Student Union’s Linville Falls Room at Appalachian.

Appalachian began the summer reading program in August 1997 to provide incoming freshmen with a shared experience and to introduce students to the academic environment on a college campus. The reading is incorporated in classroom lectures and is discussed throughout the year.

Past selections include “Oral History” by Lee Smith, “Night” by Elie Wiesel” and “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest Gaines.”