Jacksonville State University is proud to present The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien as the 2013 Summer Reading Program selection.
In March of 1965, the first U.S. troops waded ashore a sandy beach halfway around the world in an obscure country called Vietnam. Eight years and over 58,000 American lives later, in March of 1973, the last U.S. troops left Vietnam and returned to a divided America that would take decades to process the lessons of the Vietnam War. Many Vietnam veterans, like celebrated author Tim O’Brien, found both solace and meaning in writing about their Vietnam experiences; indeed, O’Brien writes, “stories can save us.”
Marking the 40th anniversary of our troops’ coming home from Vietnam, Jacksonville State University is pleased to announce The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien as the 2013 Summer Reading Program selection. First published in 1990, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize that year, The Things They Carried is a work of fiction that draws on O’Brien’s own Vietnam experiences, and centers upon a fictional platoon of soldiers during and after the war. Neither entirely a novel nor a collection of short stories, The Things They Carried creatively combines genres while meditating on life, death, and the very nature of truth and memory.
Students will study and discuss the Summer Reading Program book in English Composition and First-Year Student Experience courses. The book will also serve as the catalyst for discussion in Freshman Forum and the C.O.C.K.Y. Experience through University Housing and Residence Life. The goals of Jacksonville State University’s Summer Reading Program are to unite the freshman class and to promote thought and action on a variety of relevant issues by reading a common text prior to beginning the first semester of college.
In accord with this year’s selection, students will also enjoy a wide variety of events and experiences, including a Vietnam War film series, panel discussions by local war veterans, music of the Vietnam generation, and many other speakers and presentations.