An initiative of the UC Santa Barbara Library, UCSB Reads is a campus and community one-book program that aims to facilitate discussion of important issues by way of public lectures and events, courses that incorporate the book into their curriculum and, of course, the author talk that culminates each season.
For the upcoming academic year, in recognition of the extraordinary and necessary attention to racism in this country, the UCSB Reads Advisory Committee has selected for consideration titles that all grapple with race. The shortlist includes memoirs, a novel, a collection of poetry and, for the first time ever, a podcast.
To more closely tie the community to the program and involve them in the process, the library is offering a sneak peek of the top selections being considered — and inviting members of the public to vote for their favorite. Listed in alphabetical order, they are:
1. 1619, the 5-episode podcast by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times
2. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon
4. Monument: Poems New and Selected, by Natasha Trethewey
5. The City We Became, by NK Jemisin
6. When They Call You a Terrorist, by Patrice Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele
“UCSB Reads is a program intended to engage people from across all departments of campus as well as the larger Santa Barbara community in important conversation,” said Alex Regan, events and exhibitions librarian. “By inviting the community to provide feedback in the early stages of the process, we hope people will feel more connected and invested in exploring the topics and themes of the selected title with us throughout the winter and spring.”
Anyone who votes by August 12 will be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of the final selection, Regan added.
Now in its 15th year, the UCSB Reads program kicks off with a book giveaway at the beginning of each winter quarter and culminates in a free public lecture by the author each spring. A variety of free events, both online and in person, will be held along the way to engage both the campus community and the community at large around the book’s themes.