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2023-2024 Common Reading

book cover for No visible bruises

“No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us” by Rachel Louise Snyder is the 2023-2024 Common Reading selection.

An award-winning journalist’s intimate investigation of the true scope of domestic violence, revealing how the roots of America’s most pressing social crises are buried in abuse that happens behind closed doors. We call it domestic violence. We call it private violence. But whatever we call it, we generally do not believe it has anything at all to do with us, despite the World Health Organization deeming it a “global epidemic.” In America, domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, and yet it remains locked in silence, even as it reaches into so many of our most pressing national issues, from our economy to our education system, from mass shootings to mass incarceration to #MeToo. We still have not taken the true measure of this problem. Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; and most insidiously that violence inside the home is a private matter, sealed from the public sphere and disconnected from other forms of violence. Through the stories of victims, perpetrators, law enforcement, and reform movements from across the country, Snyder explores the real roots of private violence, its far-reaching consequences for society, and what it will take to truly address it.

Up Next: 2024-2025 Common Reading Selection  

Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America by Heather Cox Richardson has been named the 2024-2025 Shepherd University common reading selection. All are invited to “Read the Book & Join the Conversation!” throughout the next academic year (Aug. 2024-April 2025), as part of the 18th annual  Common Reading Program.

cover of the book "Democracy Awakening" by Heather Cox Richardson

About the Book: 
A vital and urgent call to action about the precarious state of American democracy, charting its historical challenges and current threats, from one of our era’s most important and insightful historians. At a time when the very foundations of democracy seem under threat, the lessons of the past offer a roadmap for navigating a moment of political crisis. Richardson delves into the tumultuous journey of American democracy, examining the historical forces that have led to the current political climate. Her command of history and trademark plainspoken prose allow her to pivot effortlessly from the Founders to the abolitionists to Reconstruction to Nixon to the January 6 insurrection, highlighting the political legacies of the New Deal, the lingering fears of socialism, the death of the liberal consensus, and the birth of “movement conservatism.” Richardson reminds us that democracy is not a static institution but a living, evolving process that requires constant vigilance and participation from all of us. This powerful testament to the resilience of democratic ideals shows how we, as a nation, can take the lessons of the past to address today’s challenges and secure a more just and equitable future.

READ       THINK       LISTEN       TALK       GROW

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

Additional sponsors include Scarborough Library; Shepherd University Bookstore; Four Seasons Bookstore in Shepherdstown, WV; individual donors; the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History & Education; and other partners across the campus and community. You can support the Common Reading here.