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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Tag: Go Big Read 2017-2018

A Helpful Guide for Hillbilly Elegy

Welcome back Badgers! While we are easing our minds back into “school mode,” it’s also the perfect time to integrate Hillbilly Elegy into your Spring course!

Welcome back Badgers! Now it’s time to think about integrating Hillbilly Elegy into your course. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Hillbilly Elegy contains many themes that are relevant to various kinds of courses here at UW-Madison, and these complex and relevant themes hold the potential for great discussion within each course. A list of themes with page references has been posted on the Go Big Read resources page to assist course understanding and discussion of the book.

To help out instructors, the Go Big Read team has created a Book Discussion Toolkit. Within the Book Discussion Toolkit are Hillbilly Elegy discussion questions, book discussion guidelines for facilitators and participants, planning a book discussion, a program goals handout, and general book information. This toolkit will help spark conversation and how to go about covering some potentially sensitive or difficult topics.

HarperCollins has generously also provided a teacher’s guide for Hillbilly Elegy. The guide contains guided reading questions for each chapter and potential writing prompts.

A list of reviews, interviews, and related books has been created by Madison Public Library and is also listed under our Resources page for potential discussions and other sources to use within conversations surrounding Hillbilly Elegy. 

Go Big Read has created a Resource page to help with Hillbilly Elegy understanding and discussions.

If you are thinking about integrating Hillbilly Elegy into your course or are looking for further resources while reading the book, this resource page is here to help you!

Gillian Keebler
Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office

 

Go Big Read Book Fairy Giveaway

Keep your eyes peeled around campus these next couple of weeks- the Go Big Read team will be giving away a limited number of copies of Hillbilly Elegy!

Copies of Hillbilly Elegy will be left around the Madison area, especially places on campus that have shown the Go Big Read Program support. There are only a limited number of copies available, so follow our social media (@GoBigRead or Go Big Read on Facebook) to keep up with clues as to where we have left them!

Look for this Go Big Read tag… if you found one, you’re in luck!

The books will be wrapped in red and white ribbon (always representing UW-Madison colors, of course), and will be attached with a Go Big Read tag. If you’ve found one of these, you’re in luck! The book is yours to keep.

Starting next week, Go Big Read team members will start to leave copies of Hillbilly Elegy around campus. Keep your eyes peeled for clues!

We were inspired by the lovely Emma Watson and her book fairy project several months ago in support of International Women’s Day.

Emma Watson hand delivered books to special places. We’re about to follow in her footsteps! CC Image Courtesy of Emma Watson’s Twitter page.

With a limited amount of books to spare, the Go Big Read team wanted to give them away in a fun way. What’s better than stumbling upon a free copy of Hillbilly Elegy after a long walk up Bascom? It could be you!

Stay tuned to hear more, and keep an eye out on our social media for clues about where the books will be! It all starts next week!

Gillian Keebler
Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office

 

Capitol Lakes’ Captivating Hillbilly Elegy Exhibit

The Go Big Read team was extremely grateful to have residents of Capitol Lakes contribute a Hillbilly Elegy exhibit. We couldn’t have done it any better ourselves!

The exhibit was shown outside the doors to Shannon Hall last Monday.

Although the exhibit mainly focused on the present Go Big Read book, Hillbilly Elegy, past Go Big Read picks were displayed in the exhibit as well. They can be seen at the bottom of the display, including old promotional posters for several of the books. It’s exciting to see the transformation from year to year!

A close up of the exhibit. This part shown mainly focuses on Hillbilly Elegy themes and details.

Certain aspects of the exhibit, like the image shown above, give clues into themes and details present in Hillbilly Elegy. Mountain Dew, law texts, a war veteran hat, and a map of Middletown, Ohio, are all shown to represent parts of J.D. Vance’s life. Want to know more about these items? The Capitol Lakes exhibit states that you’ll have to read the book in order to find out!

Capitol Lakes offers information on other various Hillbilly Elegy discussions nearby.

The display also offers helpful information on other various Hillbilly Elegy discussions around the Madison area and where an individual can obtain their own copy of Hillbilly Elegy if interested.

The exhibit provided lots of helpful and interesting information about the Go Big Read program and Hillbilly Elegy. A big thank you once again to the residents of Capitol Lakes! We greatly appreciate it.

Gillian Keebler
Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office

Integrate Latest Go Big Read Book into your Course!

On Tuesday, Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced the title of the forthcoming 2017-18 Go Big Read book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance.

Seeing as a key component of the Go Big Read program is the incorporation of the book into academic courses across campus, it’s once more time to consider curricular integration! Some classes will use the book on their required reading lists, while others will offer themes related to the book as optional topics for papers and presentations. The possibilities are truly endless. Furthermore, all students who are enrolled in these participating courses will receive a free copy of the book and will benefit from the critical thinking and discussions the text may inspire.

Last year’s text–Pulitzer Prize winning text, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American Cityby esteemed sociologist and UW alum Matthew Desmond–was incorporated into over 100 diverse courses, ranging from Botany 265: Rainforests and Coral Reefs to Dance 011: Contemporary Dance I and from Genetics 562: Human Cytogenetics to Urban and Regional Planning 590: Making Health Matter in Planning, just to name a few.

Curricular integration and discussion is a key component of the Go Big Read program.

Students gain key critical thinking skills from reading, discussing, and completing assignments about the Go Big Read text.

Like EvictedHillbilly Elegy can be worked into a wide range of classroom spaces, including, but not limited to courses within the studies of Anthropology, Athletic Training, Biology, Communication Arts, Community and Environmental Sociology, Community and Nonprofit Leadership, Economics, Elementary Education, English, Gender and Women’s Studies, Geography, History, Human Development and Family Studies, Journalism, Landscape Architecture, Legal Studies, Management and Human Resources, Nutritional Sciences, Personal Finance, Political Science, Psychology, Real Estate and Urban Land Economics, Religious Studies, Social Welfare or Social Work, Sociology, and Statistics.

Students discuss A Tale for the Time Being, the Go Big Read book of the 2013-2014 academic year, in the classroom.

We hope to see many professors, students, and community members engaging with the text throughout next year. Support from administrators, community leaders, and professors helps to make our program impactful and relevant each year!

For more information about the book and the topics it touches, please click here.

For more information about how to integrate the text into your classroom or your programming, please click here.

 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance is Chosen as the 2017-18 Go Big Read Book

Today, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Chancellor, Rebecca Blank, announced that the forthcoming 2017-2018 Go Big Read book is to be Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance.

“a deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures”

In Hillbilly Elegy, Vance provides his personal reflection on upward mobility in America seen through the lens of a white, working-class family in the Midwest. The ninth book in the history of the Go Big Read program, this year’s selection offers “a deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures.” The author is acutely aware of the many struggles “hillbilly” populations face—having himself descended from Kentucky “hill people” and grown up in a declining Ohio steel town. (jdvance.com).

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance was recently chosen as the 2017-2018 Go Big Read book.

As the official UW-Madison press release states, “Many have credited the book with providing understanding of the lives of those struggling with economic decline;” however, many critics have questioned whether the text presents an overly simplistic view of “poverty and personal responsibility” (news.wisc.edu).

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy.

Yet, as Chancellor Blank shares, the nuances presented in the text echo the Go Big Read program’s “history of choosing books with challenging and timely topics” that  “generate a lively conversation about a set of important issues, about which people can agree or disagree” (news.wisc.edu).

We are excited to see what discussions and critical classroom engagement this book will bring to campus next year! For more information on the text and its author, please visit the news.wisc.edu.

Morgan Olsen
Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office

Awards & Honors for Evicted

Last week, it was announced that Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City had won the distinguished Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Nonfiction. This prestigious honor, was only the most recent in a slew of awards, honors, and distinctions that the book has received in the last several months.

In this piece, we would like to expound upon the wonderful success of this year’s Go Big Read text. Here are a few of the most exciting awards, honors, distinctions, and praise for Matthew Desmond’s work.

AWARDS

800-CEO-READ Business Book Award — Shortlist 2016 — Books can help create more humane, diverse, modern, and effective businesses, stronger communities, and a better world. The 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards exist to recognize the best books in the business genre every year, and all the people who help bring them to life. Categories include, Leadership & Strategy, Management & Workplace Culture, Marketing & Sales, Innovation & Creativity, Personal Development & Human Behavior, Current Events & Public Affairs, Narrative & Biography, and Big Ideas & New Perspectives (800ceoread.com).

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction —Winnner 2017 — The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) are announced at an event at the ALA Midwinter Meeting; winning authors receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalists in each category receive $1,500.(ala.org).

Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award — Finalist 2016 — Connecting readers with unforgettable new stories since 1990 (barnesandnoble.com).

Kirkus Prize for Non-Fiction — Finalist 2016 — The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large (kirkusreviews.com).

L.A. Times Festival of Books, Book Prize in Current Interest – Shortlist 2017 – Since 1980, the LA Times Book Prizes have honored the previous year’s best books and their authors (latimes.com).

MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award — Award Winner 2015 — The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector (macfound.org).

National Book Critics Circle Awards — Winner 2016 — The National Book Critics Circle awards are given each March and honor the best literature published in the United States in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. These are the only national literary awards chosen by critics themselves (bookcritics.org).

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction — Winner 2017 — This biennial prize of $10,000 will go to the author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in the United States during the previous two calendar years. The book should possess the qualities of intellectual rigor and importance, perspicuity of expression, and stylistic elegance conspicuous in the writings of author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose four dozen books and countless other publications continue to provide an important and incisive commentary on the American social, intellectual and political scene (pen.org).

Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction — Winner 2017 — This yearly prize of $15,000 is awarded for a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other [Pulitzer Prize] category (pulitzer.org)

Students and faculty in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison gather in the Sewell Social Science Building to hear Desmond speak on Nov. 2, 2016 (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison).

HONORS, DISTINCTIONS, AND PRAISE

The Boston Globe Review “There have been many well-received urban ethnographies in recent years […] Desmond’s “Evicted’’ surely deserves to takes it place among these. It is an exquisitely crafted, meticulously researched exploration of life on the margins, providing a voice to people who have been shamefully ignored — or, worse, demonized — by opinion makers over the course of decades”

Buzzfeed’s 14 Of The Most Buzzed-About Books Of 2016 “Evicted paints a detailed and heartbreaking portrait of the country’s eviction problem, and how it feeds into a cycle of poverty”

The Guardian’s Best Holiday Reads 2016 “An essential piece of reportage about poverty and profit in urban America”

The Financial Times Review “It is eloquent, too, on the harm eviction does — not just to individuals but also to communities and to the quality of civic and urban life”

The L.A. Time’s 10 Most Important Books of 2016 “Desmond, now a Harvard professor, has a close-up empathy that makes the book lasting”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Review “It is a magnificent, richly textured book with a Tolstoyan approach: telling it like it is but with underlying compassion and a respect for the humanity of each character, major or minor”

Minneapolis StarTribune Review “With a relentless realism, Desmond returns to the speed and violence of the eviction process itself — a subject that elicits his most evocative writing. He captures the humiliation of it all”

Mother Jones Evicted is a rich, empathetic feat of storytelling and fieldwork”

The New York Times Ten Best Books of 2016 “Desmond’s empathetic and scrupulously researched book reintroduces the concept of “exploitation” into the poverty debate, showing how eviction, like incarceration, can brand a person for life”

The New York Times Best Seller

The New York Times Critics’ Top Books of 2016 “I’ve come to think of “Evicted” as a comet book — the sort of thing that swings around only every so often, and is, for those who’ve experienced it, pretty much impossible to forget”

The Pulitzer Prize Board “A deeply researched exposé that show[s] how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty”

Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks “Beautiful, harrowing, and deeply human, Evicted is a must read for anyone who cares about social justice in this country. I loved it”

Vice Reviews “The poverty of others brings up terrible questions of there-but-for-the-grace-of-God and what if, were your circumstances or skin colour or gender different, that could be you. Your gaze pulls away. But Desmond writes so powerfully and with such persuasive math that he turns your head back and keeps it there: Yes, it could be you”

Vulture’s 8 Books You Need to Read this Month “Living and reporting among Milwaukee’s destitute, intimately getting to know eight families as well as two landlords, Desmond toggles between the numbers and the people, focusing on the daily struggle while keeping the big picture in the frame”

 

These were just a few of the most noteworthy honors for Evicted; the positive feedback is truly astounding and we are so proud of Matthew and his work! We are eager to see what distinctions come next.

 

Morgan Olsen

Student Assistant, Go Big Read Office

Seeking Go Big Read Book Suggestions Once More

Here we are again. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were scanning “Best of 2015” book lists, reviewing community suggestions, shuffling through book reviews, and sifting through various paperbacks at breakneck reading speeds all in hopes of finding the next Go Big Read book. Through all this arduous research and reading, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond was ultimately selected for the 2016-2017 Go Big Read text, in hopes of connecting the UW-Madison community through a thought-provoking read backed by campus-wide programming and curricular integration. We watched Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Bucky Badger hand out copies of Evicted at Convocation in September to bright-eyed freshman; we witnessed 220 classes read and discuss the book; and we met Desmond in-person on his November 1st campus visit.

However, even though we still have an entire spring semester of celebrating and reading Evicted, which was recently named on the New York Times‘ and Washington Post‘s Best Books of 2016 lists, it’s time to start thinking about the future again.

We now need to select the 2017-2018 Go Big Read text and we need your help. We ask for your suggestions, recommendations, and support as we go through the latest review process, because at the end of the day this is a common read program—it’s driven and supported by the greater UW-Madison community, and therefore, your input is integral to the program’s success.

Go Big Read book suggestions are now being accepted!

Go Big Read book suggestions are now being accepted!

This year we are looking for a book on a contemporary theme that lends itself to discussion. Considering all that is going on in the world today, there are so many important issues to discuss and cover. A broad-reaching theme for the 2017-2018 text is key to hearing from all the subjects of importance.

If you have a text in mind or want to read about the criteria we use in selecting a book, you can learn more here. If you are ready to suggest a book, please submit your nomination using this form. We will be accepting suggestions until January 22, 2017.

We want to hear from you and we can’t wait to see what you recommend!

 

Morgan Olsen

Go Big Read Student Assistant 

 

Cover photo: Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison