Student Experience Office


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Past Books

The 2013 Book:

The Glass Castle

Critics have described The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls as “spectacular,” “extraordinary,” “incredible,” and “riveting.” It has been a New York Times best-seller for more than four years, has sold 3.5 million copies in the US alone, been translated into 22 languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount. It was named one of the  “Top 10 Books of the Decade” by Amazon, and has won numerous awards including the Christopher Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and the Books for Better Living Award.


In The Glass Castle, Walls describes growing up in the desert of the American Southwest and then in a West Virginia mining town with her three siblings and the brilliant, unorthodox, irresponsible parents who manage at once to neglect them, love them, and teach them to face their fears.

The story is at times harrowing and at times hilarious as the children go without food and indoor plumbing, yet are encouraged to read Shakespeare and dream of the beautiful glass house they will all one day build. Despite all her hardships, Walls develops the determination to leave West Virginia on her own at the age of 16, move to New York City, enrol in Barnard College and eventually become a well-known columnist for New York magazine and and a television personality.

About the Author

Jeannette Walls lives in the Virginia piedmont with her husband, the writer John Taylor. She has appeared on Prime Time Live, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, and Oprah. Her inspirational book has been taught at universities in courses on literature, psychology, parenting, child development, and poverty. Walls has spoken at colleges, corporations, and business associations about overcoming hardship and the keys to turning adversity to your advantage.

Her follow-up to The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel, was released in October 2009, and was an immediate New York Times best-seller. It was selected by Independent Book Sellers as a monthly “Best Read” and was called “essential reading” by Library Journal.

Her most recent book, The Silver Star was released in June 2013.

The 2012 Book:

Eating Dirt, by Charlotte Gill