2018 Common Reading Announced

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer is NC State’s 2018 Common Reading Program selection.

Copies of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, chosen by the students, faculty and staff on the Common Reading Selection Committee, will be distributed to all new first-year students during New Student Orientation prior to the fall semester. Themes from $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America will also be the focus of Convocation on Monday, August 20, 2018 at Reynolds Coliseum to welcome the Class of 2022.

Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer confront the social and structural barriers to economic stability that many Americans continue to face. Through personal narratives and enlightening research, the authors shine a light on an increasingly invisible and marginalized part of our society. With the number of families subsisting on $2.00 a day skyrocketing over the past years, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America lays bare the real-life implications of living in poverty in our country.

Andrea Atkin, Chair of the 2018 Common Reading Selection Committee, noted that “$2.00 a Day is an interdisciplinary study that can prompt conversations among the members of the NC State community about poverty, hunger, and homelessness in America, and about what we as individuals and as a society can and ought to do.  Edin and Shaefer explain how Americans who “envision themselves first and foremost as workers” become caught in desperate poverty. As our first-year students are starting to think about their own future as workers; $2.00 a Day challenges them to respond personally to the plight of their fellow Americans, to see the similarities we share and to understand how social, political, and economic forces can lead to different futures.”

“Reading $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America will actively encourage our campus community to consider an invisible population that includes some of our incoming and continuing students,” said Provost Warwick Arden. “The text presents many opportunities for engagement and service with our campus partners across the state.”

According to a review by the New York Times, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America is “a remarkable book that could very well change the way we think about poverty in the United States…This essential book is a call to action, and one hopes it will accomplish what Michael Harrington’s ‘The Other Americans’ achieved in the late 1960s—arousing both the nation’s consciousness and conscience about the plight of a growing number of invisible citizens.  The rise of such absolute poverty since the passage of welfare reform belies all the categorical talk about opportunity and the American dream.”

Kathryn J. Edin currently serves as the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health. Edin has also been named to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D. is the director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, an interdisciplinary, university-level initiative that seeks to inform, identify, and test innovative strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty. Shaefer also serves as an associate professor at the University of Michigan, School of Social Work and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Learn more about the authors and their work at: http://www.twodollarsaday.com/

The Common Reading Engagement Committee invites members of the NC State community and beyond to become engaged by:

  • Incorporating the text into fall and spring semester courses (to request a review copy of the text available in early June, please visit: go.ncsu.edu/crpreviewcopy);
  • Submitting ideas on other active engagement opportunities via the Common Reading email at common-reading@ncsu.edu; and
  • Engaging the conversation via social media using the hashtag #onepackonebook.

The campus community is encouraged to submit nominations for the 2019 Common Reading selection by May 31, 2018 by clicking here.

For more information about $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America and the Common Reading Program, please visit go.ncsu.edu/commonreading.