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Appalachian Common Reading Program announces 2016-17 book

BOONE—Appalachian State University has chosen the common reading selection for the 2016-17 academic year. It will be “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Jon Ronson, published in 2015.

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Appalachian’s Common Reading Program helps incoming students establish a common experience with other students. Since 1997, first-year students have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to Appalachian. The program helps freshmen develop a sense of community on campus and introduces them to academic life at Appalachian.

Born in Wales in 1967, Ronson is a journalist and the author of several highly acclaimed and best-selling books, including “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “The Psychopath Test.”

“So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” is Ronson’s most recent book. It begins with the author’s surprising discovery that a Twitter account had been created under his name without his knowledge and that the account was active. The book goes on to explore a number of questions arising from the public dimensions of social media and how it reflects other forms of social control.

Publisher’s Weekly calls the work “clever and thought-provoking” and notes “this book has the potential to open an important dialogue about faux moral posturing online and its potentially disastrous consequences.” The Huffington Post remarks that Ronson has an “introspective and often funny lens” and that the book “is an insightful, well-researched and important text about how we react to others’ poor decisions.”

Appalachian’s common reading committee, led by English professor Dr. Colin Ramsey, selects the book incoming students will read each year. Recent common reading selections have included “Long Way Gone” by Ismael Beah, “Clapton’s Guitar” by Allen St. John, “American Dervish” by Ayad Akhtar and “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter.

Each year, the author of the common reading selection gives a speech at convocation, which is open to the public. Jonson will speak at this year’s convocation on Monday, Aug. 15. Event details will be announced closer to the date.