By Jamie Reese
The One Book, One Campus program returns this semester with “The Postmortal” by Drew Magary. The novel brings standard conceptions of mortality into question by surmising what might happen if a cure for aging is created.
“The cure seems at first to be a great innovation, but after thinking about it, many discover unanticipated consequences that threaten a complete breakdown of society,” said Dr. Peter Pruim, Chair of the One Book, One Campus Selection Committee.
Pruim continued, “If you lived for centuries, would marriage still make sense? Would you have a great career, or always put things off? Would sports records mean anything? Could the planet sustain a population with such life spans? Who is banned from receiving the cure?”
The novel raises many of these questions and leaves many more for readers to ponder. This makes the story dynamic enough to seem realistic, but focused enough to keep the reader engaged.
“Most students who start the book say they get hooked into it. Reading for pleasure, rather than for an assignment, is a great way to replenish mind and soul. You experience focus and concentration and are more likely to feel empathy with people,” said Pruim.
“The Postmortal” was chosen for One Book because of the potential it creates for engagement. The writing style and vocabulary are simple enough for most people to read whether they are college students or just entering high school.
Despite this simplicity, the ideas and events of the novel are meant for an adult audience. It has many elements in common with “The Hunger Games,” so you ought to consider reading it if you enjoyed that series.
If you didn’t enjoy “The Hunger Games” series, or if you simply didn’t read it, you still might want to consider reading “The Postmortal.” It is an easy read and serves other purposes on campus.
“The purpose is to promote reading and to unify ESU’s campus through shared classroom content, group discussions, club activities, sidewalk conversations, and an essay competition,” said Pruim.
He continued, “By having everyone read the same book, everyone has something in common to ask and talk about. Even the simple question, ‘Did you read that book?’ can start a conversation with anyone you meet, and a reflective one, at that.”
In order to further promote and initiate these conversations, organized presentations and discussions will be held almost every week.
According to Pruim, topics for these gatherings will include: “the purpose of marriage and relationships, politics and terror, the unanticipated consequences of powerful innovations, obsession with youthfulness, and worries about overpopulation and resource war.”
The presentations and discussions will culminate on November 4 when the author, Drew Magary, visits ESU.
In the meantime, don’t miss the weekly gatherings. Dr. Peter Pruim and Dr. Bonnie Green of the Psychology Department will be the first to present.
Their presentation is entitled “The Cure, the iPhone, and Unanticipated Consequences.” Green said, “We’re going to be talking about unintended consequences of decisions or processes that are put into place. So for example, when the iPhone Technology came out, we thought about all the positives…but are there any downsides to us being so connected to electronics?”
Green continued, “What happens when we lose electricity? What has happened to our ability to communicate with each other or our ability to read social cues and respond effectively?”
That first presentation starts tonight at 7:00 PM in Lower Dansbury. Everyone is urged to attend whether or not he or she has read the book.
Subsequent gatherings will be held at 7:00 PM on most Wednesdays or Thursdays before Magary comes to visit. For a complete list of dates, go to www.esu.edu/onebook.
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