Two major research universities have selected Jonathan Safran Foer's book "Eating Animals" for their summer reading programs for incoming freshmen. A joint committee of faculty, staff, and students from both Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill selected the book from a list of 393 nominated books as a way of strengthening the connection between the two universities, which are less than twenty miles apart.
Over the past decade, summer reading programs for incoming freshmen have become widespread across the nation. They serve several purposes. First, they provide intellectual stimulation and foster critical thinking skills before the students arrive on campus. And, having read the book, students enter fall term classes with an intellectual common ground. The book also is often the focus of discussion sessions and freshman level course content, especially in English or Humanities courses.
While "Eating Animals" is not a manifesto for vegetarianism or veganism, it urges readers to question everything about the nature and origin of the food they consume, and only then make the decision about what or how to eat. Foer wrote the book as an expectant father who wanted to make the best and most informed decision about what to feed his child. He exposes factory farms, ponders why humans eat pigs but not dogs, and offers the reader an intensive but fair and sympathetic look at the dilemma of what we should eat and why.
For more information visit Duke Summer Reading Program, UNC Summer Reading Program, and Eating Animals.
Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/elycefeliz