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” Iron and Silk” Selected for Appalachian’s Summer Reading Program

012805ironandsilk_dl.jpgBOONE-“Iron and Silk,” author Mark Salzman’s account of his two years in China, is the summer reading selection for entering freshman at Appalachian State University.

The memoir chronicles Salzman’s experiences teaching English at Hunan Medical College in Changsha, China, from 1982-84, a time when international relationships with the United States were just starting to develop.

Salzman will be the guest speaker at Appalachian’s fall convocation, participate in a discussion with students, and talk about his writing during the Hughlene B. Frank Visiting Writers Series, all on Sept. 8. He also will talk about his work at the Watauga County Public Library on Sept. 9.

Incoming freshmen will receive a copy of the book during summer orientation, and be invited to participate in small group discussions prior to the start of classes in August.

” We have so many opportunities for incorporating this reading across campus,” said Janice Pope, co-chair of the reading committee and a member of the university’s communication faculty. “It will be suitable for extended discussions in the areas of history, political science, sociology, foreign language, music, art and other academic disciplines.”

Pope says the university’s long-standing faculty and student exchanges with Fudan University in Shanghai and Northeastern University in Shenyang, plus the evolving relationship China has with the United States and the rest of the world, were additional factors in selecting the book.

The selection was recommended by members of the university’s summer reading committee, comprised of university faculty, staff and students.

” Iron and Silk” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, and received the Christopher Award and the New York Public Library Literary Lions Award. It has been translated into 12 languages.

Pope says having the author of Appalachian’s summer reading selection speak on campus and in the community is an important component of the program. “It makes an author more relevant to the students,” she said. “And it gives them the opportunity to ask questions of the person who wrote the selection.”

Salzman is a graduate of Yale University. His other works are: “The Soloist,” “Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia,” “Lying Awake” and “True Notebooks.”

Salzman also is an accomplished cello player and has performed on the soundtrack to several films, including the Academy Award-winning documentary “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien.”

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