Owensboro Community & Technical College has announced its fall 2019 semester Common Reading selection for the campus and community at-large.

The novel, "We Are Called to Rise" by Laura McBride, explores the lives of four people whose plotlines intersect at a single, tragic moment in Las Vegas. Those characters, a court-appointed special child advocate, a young veteran with mental health issues, a divorcee and an immigrant family represent themes the OCTC Common Reading Committee has identified to tie in with curricula students will study next semester.

"We believed that this novel was relevant to the people living in our community and that it addressed a lot of opposing views and interesting concepts that our students will value," said committee co-chair and English professor Kaye Brown. "The overarching thing we're trying to get across is that of opening up students to different avenues of thought and to walk in other people's shoes for a while."

In essence, that's the idea behind Common Reading -- giving lots of different people the same material so as to create common ground for discussions and mutual interests, expanding both the knowledge and perspectives readers have, Brown said. All OCTC students, staff, faculty and interested community members are invited and encouraged to participate by reading the books and attending the related presentations each semester.

Not all of those presentations have yet been scheduled, but she said she likes the idea of inviting CASA of the Ohio Valley volunteers, veterans, immigrants and law enforcement officers to discuss themes that include child abuse, mental health, change with age and immigration.

McBride will visit OCTC on Oct. 3 at the Blandford Lecture Hall to present the book and sign copies. She lives in Las Vegas and teaches English at the College of Southern Nevada. She is an American studies graduate from Yale University and author of both "We Are Called to Rise" and "In the Midnight Room."

"McBride has written an urgent morality tale for our times in the form of this poignant gripping debut," reviewed the Library Journal of her first work from 2015.

The other Common Reading Committee chair Tonya Northenor said the program is designed to rotate between national and local or regional authors. Diverse themes and impassioned conversations inspired by Common Read books are an inherent part of the college experience that is important to replicate, she added.

More information about "We Are Called to Rise" and the Common Reading program can be found at the Facebook page, facebook.com/octc.commonread.

Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, aramsey@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey

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