First-Year Summer Reading 2009
The Fall 2009 book selection is:
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, the Man Who Would Cure the World
by Tracy Kidder
During the summer prior to the start of their first semester at SLU, incoming students are expected to read a common book. The goals of the program include:
- Provides a shared intellectual experience that prepares incoming students to engage in discussion on various levels on an ongoing basis.
- Addresses questions and life issues being faced by incoming students.
- Either implicitly or explicitly introduces students to academic life and the uniqueness of Jesuit higher education, reflective of the mission of Saint Louis University.
- Provides opportunities for incoming students to dialogue with each other, and faculty and staff on campus.
Students will be further introduced to the concept of the first-year summer reading during SLU 101 summer orientation and will receive the book for free during their orientation visit to campus during the summer. All first-year students are expected to read it by the time they come to campus to participate in Welcome Week, where they'll have the opportunity to discuss the reading in a small group of students led by a faculty/staff member.
In a conversation between Tom White and Paul Farmer, Tom said "You know, Paul, sometimes I'd like to chuck it all and work as a missionary with you in Haiti." Farmer thought for a while, then said, "In your particular case, that would be a sin" (p. 95). How are Ophelia and Tom's acts of compassion different from Farmer's? How do we know what role we should play?
Farmer used the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25 to guide many of his actions. How do you think we can best understand the plight of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the imprisoned? Explain what Farmer means by an option for the poor [O for the P]. How can this lens be used to look at issues in the United States?
Is there somebody in your life that inspires you to reach for something greater?
Paul Farmer is called "a saint" in several places and his work and hospital is called "a miracle". What do these terms mean to you and do they apply?