Augie Reads for 2013

May  21, 2013

     Science and ethics will be some of the first subjects covered this fall by first year students at Augustana College. Over the summer, they'll be required to read a science fiction novel for their course, Liberal Studies First Year.  The program is called "Augie Reads" and in recent years incoming students have read "The Prince" by Machiavelli and "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury.

     Katie Hanson, chair of the Augie Reads committee, says this year's book is "Never Let Me Go," by Kazuo Ishiguro.

     "We can get the ball rolling on day 1 because they've already read something. And this year we're piloting for the first time they'll also come to class with a paper they've written about the book. So then we can immediately launch into writing process, revision strategy, and discussion, and everybody's coming from one common place."

     "Never Let Me Go" is set in contemporary England, where some young people are living in what seems like a "utopian" situation.

     "These young people seem to be living in a wonderful boarding school where they're treated very well and encouraged to explore the arts and they have lovely friends. And then at some point you realize there's a little dark twist there - it's not really a utopia."

     They're actually clones, being bred for the later donation of their organs.  Hanson says the students will discuss what can we do, and what should we do with scientific discoveries, and the ethics of cloning.