2015 Penn State Reads author Russell Gold in conversation with Katie O'Toole.

Penn State Reads Partnership

A humanities-based event designed to engage the larger State College community in a University program


Penn State Reads was designed by Pennsylvania State University to provide a shared experience among students, encourage intellectual engagement within and beyond the classroom and stimulate critical thinking. Each year the program invites students across the university to read a single book. 

Each year from 2013 to 2016, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council partnered with Penn State Libraries, Schlow Centre Region Library, and the  Penn State Center for Arts & Humanities to present a public event in which the author of the Penn State Reads selected novel spoke about his/her work and engaged students and residents in meaningful dialogue. 

See below for information on past Penn State Reads events.

Eyal Press

Eyal Press was the Penn State Reads author of 2013. Press discussed his book Beautiful Souls, which examines what impels people to defy the sway of authority and convention.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In 2014 State College welcomed Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche as the Penn State Reads author. In an interview with Ellysa Cahoy, Adichie discussed her book Americanah, which explores the human experience, identity and blackness in America, Nigeria, and Great Britain. 

“If we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.” --Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 

Russell Gold

In October 2015, Penn State Reads author Russell Gold discussed his book The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World with a live community audience in State College.

In The Boom Gold tells the stories of scientists, engineers, business people, environmentalists, and community members in great detail, weaving together a series of widely varied perspectives on the domestic drilling boom.

Dave Eggers

The 2016 Penn State Reads author Dave Eggers explored the impact of technology on modern life through his novel The Circle.

“The book provokes us to think about questions of privacy, transparency, and the impact of social media and technology — including large data sets — on our lives as citizens in a democracy,” said Jacqueline Edmondson, associate vice president and associate dean for Penn State Undergraduate Education.



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