Staff editorial: united through books


On Wednesday, Oct. 7, author Tim O’Brien will be coming to NMU to discuss his book “The Things They Carried,” which has been chosen as Marquette’s One Book, One Community read for this year. In the past three years this program has been active, this is the first time an author has been able to come to campus. Having an author of O’Brien’s stature at NMU is a privilege, especially because his book addresses an especially relevant topic to people in our community- young people in war.

“The Things They Carried” has become a timeless classic since its release in 1990. No matter what your opinion is before reading it, O’Brien offers priceless insight to the Vietnam War, one of the most controversial conflicts in United States history, based off some of his own experiences.

Choosing this book as the One Book, One Community read is significant to us as students. Although we have never faced a time in which our generation was drafted to fight, we have seen many of our peers go off willingly to serve our country. No matter your political stance, “The Things They Carried” shows the struggles endured by soldiers, both mentally and physically. The things these young men and women experienced, and are still experiencing, are worth appreciating. But it’s not only our generation who can relate this, everyone in the community can as well, which is the ultimate goal of the program.

One Book, One Community came to Marquette in 2006 as a pilot project, with hopes of eventually making it an annual event. Modeled after the same program done at Michigan State University for several years, its purpose is to promote a sense of community by bringing university students and community readers together.

Although the program has spread all over the country, Marquette’s version is unique. Here it is not only a perfect way to link the community, but university students as well. As college students we all have different agendas, and by encouraging students to read a common book and discuss it, we are all given the opportunity to find common ground. This is especially true for new students, who may be included in one of the twenty sections of EN 111 classes who are reading the book.

We are fortunate as a university and a community to be given this opportunity. Not only is it a way to bring us all together, it is a valuable learning experience. Since we were children we have read to educate ourselves, and through O’Brien’s novel we gain valuable insight to an issue currently present in all of our lives.