First Year Experience - Eastern Oregon University

Common Reading Program

EOU’s 2013 Common Reading Selection is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and will be required reading as part of first-year student’s Humanities 101 course in fall 2013.


The goals of the Common Reading Program are:

  • To expose students to reading
  • To promote critical thinking
  • To connect first-year students to each other and to EOU through a shared intellectual experience
  • To integrate themes from the book into FYE courses


“Science writing is often just about ‘the facts.’ Skloot’s book, her first, is far deeper, braver, and more wonderful.” —New York Times Book Review

“No dead woman has done more for the living . . . a fascinating, harrowing, necessary book.” —Hilary Mantel, The Guardian (U.K.)




REBECCA SKLOOT is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; Prevention; Glamour; and others. She has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radio lab and PBS’s NOVA, Science, NOW, and is a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine and guest editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011.  Her work has been anthologized in several collections, including The Best Creative Nonfiction. She is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle and has taught creative nonfiction and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University. She lives in Chicago. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is her first book. It is being translated into more than twenty languages and adapted into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. She is the Founder and President of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation. For more information, visit her website at, where you’ll find links to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.




















Common Reading Selections from previous years:

2012: The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

2011:  Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers