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Common Read Program

The 57 Bus

 Title: The 57 Bus: A True Story About Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

Author: Dashka Slater

We are very happy to announce that this year’s Common Read for the FIT community, and particularly for incoming students, is Dashka Slater's The 57 Bus.

This relevant, nonfiction book is particularly well-timed; a number of today's pressing issues are discussed in this book, including race, class, socioeconomic status, gender and sexual identity, the juvenile justice system, choices, consequences, and the healing power of forgiveness. Further, the Common Read fulfills a key FIT Strategic Plan objective: to provide an empowering student experience in a cohesive community. Author Dashka Slater, winner of the 2018 Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award, will give a talk on the research that led to her book. Join us at the Hammerstein Ballroom during New Student Orientation in the fall, before a crowd of 2,200 incoming FIT students.

Many thanks to members of the FIT community who submitted over 70 Common Read book suggestions last fall. The Common Read Committee went through every suggestion and narrowed the list to this final selection. We thank the Common Read Committee for their dedicated contributions in selecting this year's Common Read title. 

▶  More About the Author

Journalist, novelist, and children's book author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. Her novel for adults, The Wishing Box, was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, while her journalism honors include a gold Azbee, two Maggies, and a Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newspapers, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the California State Bar, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. She is a former Who Made That columnist for the New York Times Magazine and has written on topics ranging from competitive jousting to criminal justice. The recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Slater’s new non-fiction narrative, The 57 Bus: A True Story About Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, was released by Farrar Straus & Giroux in October 2017. (taken from dashkaslater.com)



The FIT Common Read Program is designed to foster a sense of community by encouraging a shared intellectual experience across the college. Since 2014, a committee of faculty, staff, and administration has selected a book as recommended reading for incoming students to the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

▶  Common Read Selection Criteria

A book that:

  • students will enjoy reading and find relevant;
  • will challenge students intellectually;
  • faculty members can incorporate into their course reading lists;
  • can be discussed across the disciplines;
  • has not already appeared on most high school reading lists;
  • does not exceed 300-350 pages;
  • is available in various formats and is accessible to all; and 
  • ideally, has a living author.

▶  2018-19 Common Read Selection Committee

Dr. Shadia Sachedina, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Dean of Students (Co-chair)
Dr. Patrick Knisley, Dean for the School of Liberal Arts (Co-chair)
Dr. Sarah Blazer, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of The Writing Studio
Naomi Schwer Bricker, Librarian, Gladys Marcus Library
Dr. Katelyn Burton, Assistant Professor, English and Communication Studies
Mariah Connelly, student
Delphine Horvath, Assistant Professor, Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing
Tardis Johnson, Associate Dean for Student Academic Support, Academic Advisement
Ladeem 'Monet' Michael, student
Carmita Sanchez-Fong, Professor and Chairperson, Interior Design
Catlin Wojtkowski, Counselor, Department of Student Life
Nedean Wilson, Counselor Associate, Academic Advisement


Previous Common Read Selections

'So You've Been Publicly Shamed' by Jon Ronson
▶  Fall 2017 / Spring 2018 
Title: So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Author: Jon Ronson

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is Ronson's tour through a not-necessarily-brave new world where faceless commenters wield the power to destroy lives and careers, where the punishments often outweigh the crimes, and where there is no self-control and (ironically) no consequences. On one hand, part of what makes this book (again, ironically) so fun to read is a certain schadenfreude; it’s fun to read about others' misfortunes, especially if we think they "had it coming." Jonah Lehrer, whose admitted plagiarism and falsifications probably earned him his fall, stalks these pages. But so does Justine Sacco, whose ill-conceived tweet probably didn’t merit hers; as it turns out, the internet doesn’t always differentiate the misdemeanors from the felonies. But the best reason to read this is Ronson's style, which is funny and brisk, yet informative and never condescending. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is not a scholarly book, nor is it a workbook about navigating ignominy. It's an entertaining investigation into a growing—and often disturbing—demimonde of uncharitable impulses run amok. —Jon Foro (via Amazon.com review)
'Where Am I Wearing' by Kelsey Timmerman

▶  Fall 2016 / Spring 2017 and Fall 2015 / Spring 2016
Title: Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factors, and People That Make Our Clothes
Author: Kelsey Timmerman

More about the Author
Kelsey Timmerman is the New York Times bestselling author of Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes and Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy. His writing has appeared in places such as the Christian Science Monitor and has aired on NPR. Kelsey is also the co-founder of the Facing Project, which seeks to connect people through stories to strengthen community. He has spent the night in Castle Dracula in Romania, played PlayStation in Kosovo, farmed on four continents, taught an island village to play baseball in Honduras, and in another life, worked as a Scuba instructor in Key West, Florida. Whether in print or in person he seeks to connect people around the world. (from whereamiwearing.com)

More about Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factors, and People That Make Our Clothes:
When journalist and traveler Kelsey Timmerman wanted to know more about where his clothes came from and who made them, he began a journey that would take him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. In Where Am I Wearing?, Kelsey introduces you to the human side of globalization—the factory workers, their names, their families, and their way of life—and bridges the gap between global producers and consumers.

'Relish: My Life in the Kitchen' by Lucy Knisley

 ▶  Fall 2014 / Spring 2015
Title: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
Author: Lucy Knisley

More about Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
Knisley, daughter of a chef mother and gourmand father, had the kind of upbringing that would make any foodie salivate, and she’s happy to share. In this collection of memories studded with recipes, she explores how food shaped her family life, friendships, travel experiences, and early career as a cartoonist. Loosely connected chapters chart a child- and young adulthood surrounded by cooks and bakers, bouncing between Manhattan kitchens and upstate farmhouses, and through art school and the booming culinary scene in Chicago. Knisley’s artwork has a classic, Richard Scarry vibe, and her illustrated recipes—from a family-special leg of lamb and huevos rancheros to the trick for perfectly sautéed mushrooms—are particularly delightful and inventive. Knisley tempers any navel-gazing impulses with humor, humility, and honesty, noting, for example, that even someone who loves fine food can still put away a truckload of McDonald’s fries from time to time. Just about everything in this rambling memoir is handled with good cheer, which hints at the positive energy and personal fulfillment Knisley has wrought from her young life in food.
—Ian Chipman