February 13, 2007

The Pickup Chosen for Class of '11 Reading Project

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The Class of ’11 will read Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer’s 2001 novel The Pickup for the annual New Student Reading Project, announced Michele Moody-Adams, Cornell vice provost for undergraduate education.

The Pickup centers on the relationship between a wealthy South African woman and an illegal Muslim immigrant. Themes of identity, personal responsibility, human freedom and cultural and class differences arise in the novel.

The Pickup was awarded the 2002 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was included on a shortlist for the 2001 Man Booker Prize.

Students, faculty and staff were solicited to suggest possible titles for the New Student Reading Project. Moody-Adams whittled down over 100 candidates to a shortlist of five books that included Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle, Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies and The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs.

The incoming class of 2001 marked the beginning of the annual reading project. Incoming students read Jared Diamond’s nonfiction book Guns, Germs and Steel.

Earlier incoming classes have read Things Fall Apart, The Trial and Frankenstein.

Cornell sends incoming students copies of the selected book to read over the summer. Once students arrive on campus in August, they attend discussions and related events with faculty and staff.