It is our pleasure to announce the Fall 2011 common reading for the Connections Project First Year Experience: Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers.
In choosing Zeitoun, the Connections Project 2011 Book Selection Task Force found Zeitoun “powerful, relevant, engaging, meaningful, and full of wisdom,” to quote one task force member. From the book’s website: “When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. But, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Eggers’s riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy—an American who converted to Islam—and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun became possible. … Zeitoun was written in close collaboration with its subjects and involved vast research—in this case, in the U.S., Spain, and Syria.”
Dave Eggers’ other five books include What Is the What, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. His website notes, “Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco. In 2002, with NÃ¬nive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco.”
All incoming first year students receive a complimentary copy of the book during Hawk Days so they may read it during the summer. The HNU bookstore will also offer copies, and several copies are available at Cushing Library. The library has also made a special subject guide for Zeitoun (http://hnu.libguides.com/zeitoun), and to help build on the Zeitoun reading experience, has purchased a special collection of books and DVDs related to Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans.
We invite all members of the campus community to join us in reading and discussing Zeitoun throughout the year. Faculty and staff are welcome and encouraged to participate in related activities and events. Feel free to contact Laura Lyndon and Anastasia Prentiss, Connections Project Coordinators, with any questions.