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“Mudbound” selected for Appalachian’s 2010 Summer Reading Program

Mudbound_t.jpgBOONE—“Mudbound” by Hillary Jordan has been selected for the 2010 Summer Reading Program at Appalachian State University.

The book will be provided to all incoming freshmen at Appalachian and Jordan will speak to members of the campus community and others during Convocation Sept. 16 in the Holmes Center on campus.

“Appalachian’s Summer Reading Program provides an important common experience for entering freshmen, helps develop a sense of community with their new environment and introduces them to the academic rigor of college,” said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock in announcing the selection.

“‘Mudbound is one of those rare stories that across the generations about issues both current and timeless,” said English Professor Emory Maiden, chair of the committee.

“The Summer Reading Committee found the work to be a rare combination of telling prose and fine insights into the human condition,” he said. “Hillary Jordan writes with both precision and considerable energy about a watershed time, a place and people undergoing tremendous changes that are fading quickly from our national consciousness. Set in the Mississippi delta circa 1946, her story involves people coping with old questions of class, race, gender and ethnicity under new conditions brought on by the closing of yet another world war.”

Jordan grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Muskogee, Okla. She received a BA in English and political science from Wellesley College and spent 15 years working as an advertising copywriter before starting to write fiction. She received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.

“Mudbound” was published by Algonquin Books in March 2008. It won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded biennially to an unpublished debut novel that addresses issues of social justice, and was the 2008 NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) Fiction Book of the Year. It won a 2009 ALA Alex Award from the American Library Association and has been longlisted for the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

“Ms. Jordan writes from within each of the major characters, individualizing them both in thought and speech patterns: no mean feat since they differ in fundamental ways despite common  strengths and frailties,” Maiden said. “It is to Jordan’s credit that she sustains and encourages our interest in each of the characters so that we want to know them better. Their actions elicit both sympathy for lives that do not work out as planned and recognition of the unintended consequences of  misapprehension and narcissism.”

Since 1997, incoming freshmen at Appalachian have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to Appalachian. Previous selections include “Three Cups of Tea,” “The Glass Castle,” “Freakonomics” and “A Home on the Field.”

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