Go Big Read Celebrates Eleven Years

April 16, 2020

The Go Big Read Program was started in 2009 by past Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin with the goal of the engaging members of the campus community and beyond in a shared, academically focused reading experience. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to participate by reading the book, and taking part in classroom discussions and campus events.

Since then we have chosen books that have covered issues ranging from food science/safety to genetics to poverty to pollution and so many other topics. All of the books selected have inspired diverse and enriching conversations about difficult topics.

Here is the full list of past Go Big Read Books:

2009-2010: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

2010-2011: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

2011-2012: Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

2012-2013: Radioactive by Lauren Redniss

2013-2014: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

2014-2015: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

2015-2016: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

2016-2017: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

2017-2018: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

2018-2019: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

2019-2020: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum

To see the archived web pages and discussion guides for these books, check out the archive page on our website.

As the program goes into its eleventh year, the goal of engaging UW-Madison and the surrounding community in difficult conversations about important topics still remains. The 2020-2021 book, Parkland, focuses on student activism, encouraging all readers to fight for what they believe in, and exploring what modern day activism looks like.

Get a copy of Parkland and join the conversation!

Happy Reading!


Olivia Poches

Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office