Author Kidder discusses book given to freshmen

By Kate Szyszka

Tracy Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, was mailed to every incoming freshman before the start of the semester. The University organization, One Book One Campus also chose to make Kidder’s book the 2008 winner for their program.

Kidder spoke at the Illini Union this Tuesday about his book followed by a book signing and reception.

“The selection was in large part an opportunity because Chancellor Herman chose to give it to all incoming freshmen,” said Lisa Hinchliffe, head of the Undergraduate Library.

Kidder’s book follows the life of Dr. Paul Farmer as he attends Harvard University, practices medicine in Boston, works to improve medical care in Haiti, and founds the public charity, Partners in Health.

“The book compiles ideology, medicine and sociology into one,” said One Book One Campus Committee member, Xuan Li, Junior in LAS. “On such a big campus it’s hard to find a book that includes everyone.”

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Students agree that the book raises awareness of injustice and brings attention to the need to improve the quality of life in impoverished countries.

“I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and not being inspired,” said Anna Kalner senior in LAS. “Giving the book to students takes the first step for them.”

Some freshmen chose not to read the book upon receiving it before the start of school.

“It gathered dust on my window,” said freshman in engineering, Sean Zilligen. “I plan to read it eventually.”

Author Tracy Kidder hopes this book raise awareness in worldwide problems for future generations, as well as provoke students to work for improvements.

“I hope that they see the great problems in the world that they are inheriting,” he said. “But I hope they also see them as an opportunity.”