Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Book One

All incoming students read the same book over the summer, and the semester begins with a lively gathering with the author, students, faculty, and staff.

Every year Simon’s Rock selects a book that promotes interdisciplinary conversations about the intersection of cultures by a contemporary living author. Book One is an opportunity to read a great book, discuss it with the author, and hear others reflect on the same text.

While students enter Simon’s Rock with diverse experiences, and they go on to pursue highly individualized paths of study, programs like Book One, as well as Writing and Thinking and First Year Seminar, provide a common language and a touchstone for further conversations. The shared foundation helps foster a learning community.

The 2020 Book One selection is Grief Sequence by alumna Prageeta Sharma '89.  

Past Book One Selections

  • Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster  by Stephen Carter
  • Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America by Gregory Pardlo 
  • The Meaning of Michelle by Veronica Chambers '87
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah
  • Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat
  • Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route by Saidiya Hartman
  • Little Boys Come From the Stars by Emmanuel Dongala
  • Sonata Mulaticca by Rita Dove
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  • Open City by Teju Cole
  • Monstress: Stories by Lysley Tenorio
  • Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty, by Vikram Chandra
  • Hardly War by Don Mee Choi

Book One Lecture

The author of each book selected for the Book One curriculum visits campus at the start of the academic year to discuss the book. This event, open to the public, invites the greater community to participate in the ongoing conversation around the themes and topics raised in Book One.