EC Reads

EC Reads is a College-wide program that aims to provide the Emmanuel community with a shared social experience. The EC Reads committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff and students seeks to identify readings that challenge us to make broad connections and consider our own experiences within the larger context of the mission of the College. Each year, the selected readings fit broadly within Emmanuel's commitment to social justice.

Discussion of ECReads selection, Regeneration
Featured speaker: Dr. William Leonard, History
Date: Wednesday, November 12th at 3:30 p.m.
Location: Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership (JYC glassroom) 

The EC Reads program features four books throughout the academic year. The first reading (and subsequent discussion) is connected with the fall Convocation speaker. The fall semester includes an additional reading and book discussion, with two more readings and discussions to be held in the spring semester.

Please "like" the new EC Reads Facebook page to be automatically connected to any updates throughout the year!

EC Reads Selections for 2014-2015

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time*

by Mark Haddon
Discussion to be led by Emmanuel's 2014 Academic Convocation Speaker John Robinson, motivational speaker and Managing Partner/CEO of Our Ability.

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon's choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally. (


by Pat Barker
Discussion to be led by William Leonard, Dean of Arts and Sciences
Date: Wednesday, November 12th at 3:30 p.m.
Location: Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership (JYC glassroom) 

In 1917, Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back to the trenches. This novel tells what happened as only a novel can. It is a war saga in which not a shot is fired. It is a story of a battle for a man's mind in which only the reader can decide who is the victor, who the vanquished, and who the victim.
Regneration has been hailed by critics across the globe.  As August 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of World War I, this book is as timely and relevant as ever. (

The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri
Discussion to be led by Clare Mehta, Assistant Professor of Psychology

The Namesake follows the Ganguli family through its journey from Calcutta to Cambridge to the Boston suburbs. Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli arrive in America at the end of the 1960s, shortly after their arranged marriage in Calcutta, in order for Ashoke to finish his engineering degree at MIT. Ashoke is forward-thinking, ready to enter into American culture if not fully at least with an open mind. His young bride is far less malleable. Isolated, desperately missing her large family back in India, she will never be at peace with this new world. (

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

by Stephen Puleo
Discussion to be led by Jeffrey Fortin, Assistant Professor of History

Shortly after noon on January 15, 1919, a 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents in a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that traveled at 35 miles per hour. The Great Boston Molasses Flood claimed the lives of 21 people and caused widespread destruction. For the first time, the story of the flood is told here in its full historical context, from the tank's construction in 1915 through the multiyear lawsuit that followed the disaster. Dark Tide uses the gripping drama of the flood to examine the sweeping changes brought about by World War I, Prohibition, the anarchist movement, immigration, and the expanding role of big business in society. It's also a chronicle of the courage of ordinary people, from the firemen caught in an unimaginable catastrophe to the soldier-lawyer who presided over the lawsuit with heroic impartiality. (

Books are available in the Emmanuel Bookstore in the Jean Yawkey Center.

For more information about EC Reads, contact the Chair of the EC Reads Committee, Assistant Professor of History Jeffrey Fortin at