Main Menu

Common Reading Home

Special Announcement:  The 2018-2019 Common Reading vote has ended and the winner is… The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee. We’ll explore Lee’s book and related topics throughout the next academic year. Add it to your summer reading list and follow us on social media for more information!

2017-2018 Common Reading Selection            


The 2017-2018 Common Reading is Breaking Night by Liz Murray. This book will serve as our focal point throughout the fall and spring semesters as we  celebrate the 11 year anniversary of the Shepherd University Common Reading Program. 

Breaking Night is the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls’ home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz’s mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless, won a New York Times scholarship and made it into the Ivy League. Breaking Night is an unforgettable and beautifully written story of one young woman’s indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.” – review

“…A fascinating lesson in the value of dedication.” – Booklist

“Education was the miracle that saved Murray’s life. . . . Her story is inspirational, and her description of [her high school], and its role in her life, should be read by everyone concerned about education.” – Washington Post Book World

“Liz Murray shows us that the human spirit has infinite ability to grow and can never be limited by circumstance. Breaking Night is a beautifully written, heartfelt memoir that will change the way you look at your community, the obstacles in your own life, and the American Dream. An inspiration; a must-read.” – Robert Redford

READ       THINK       LISTEN       TALK       GROW

fb_logo   twitter   logo_SU-Foundation

The Common Reading Program is made possible through the generous support of the Shepherd University Foundation.