CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico’s Book in Common for 2009-2010 is ‘The Soloist’

Date: 05-05-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s Book in Common for the 2009-2010 academic year will be “The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music” by Steve Lopez.

The book details the encounter of Los Angeles Times columnist Lopez with homeless musician Nathaniel Ayres, which leads to a friendship and greater awareness by Lopez of homelessness and mental illness. The book was made into a recent movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx.

Started in 1998, CSU, Chico’s Book in Common program selects one book for the campus community to read. It is especially used in courses for first-year students, with the goal of engaging them in a shared intellectual activity that will enhance their first-year experience. The book is chosen each year by a committee of faculty, students and staff.

For the 2008-2009 Book in Common, “Three Cups of Tea,” CSU, Chico partnered with Butte College, the City of Chico, Butte County Public Libraries and other community groups to encourage reading and discussing the book. The joint effort was a major success, with a wide variety of lectures, film showings, reading groups and other activities during the academic year culminating in author Greg Mortenson’s talk April 21, which was heard by more than 2,000 people on campus.

Butte College has also chosen “The Soloist” as its 2009-2010 Book in Common. In a message to campus on April 16, CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg said he hopes the book can lead to community reading groups and multiple events similar to this year’s experience.

“Members of the Book in Common committee will be contacting deans, faculty, staff, students and community members in the coming weeks to share the book and search for interesting and creative ways to incorporate ‘The Soloist’ into the fabric of campus and community life,” said Zingg. “Our goal is to inspire conversations, promote understanding and move people to action in ways that improve the quality of life on our campus and in our community.”