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Queen's Reads helps students transition to university life

A common reading program designed to help first-year students adjust to university life is running again this year, with students delving into the bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.

Queen’s Reads (QReads), which began last year, gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in an engaging story and connect with each other as they read the book, through online forums and peer-led discussion groups during orientation week.

Author Jeannette Walls will be on campus in September for a public talk.

“This program is wonderful because first-year students get to read an exciting book over the summer and arrive at Queen’s with a shared experience before they even meet each other,” says Tim Tang, Coordinator, Orientation and Transition Programs. “It also sparks self-reflection and awareness, and encourages the critical thinking they’ll need and will develop further during their academic lives.”

QReads is a joint initiative between the university and Kingston WritersFest. The program will bring Ms. Walls to Queen’s to give a public talk in late September.

Ms. Walls’ book tells the story of her unconventional upbringing and the poverty, chaos and adventures she and her siblings experienced with their creative, but dysfunctional, parents. The memoir, told from Ms. Walls’ point of view, moves from childhood through to her adult years as a successful journalist, editor and writer.

The Glass Castle is a great book for first-year students to read because it touches on some key themes that incoming students will relate very well with, such as transition, self-discovery and gaining independence,” says Grace Tahhan (Artsci’16), who helped choose the book for the program and won the program’s essay writing contest last year.

The QReads book is chosen by an advisory group made up of representatives from the Alma Mater Society, Student Affairs, Residence Life, the Student Experience Office, Student Academic Success Services, the Queen’s Learning Commons, and Writersfest.

Information about QReads is sent to all incoming students by mail, email and through social media. Those who choose to opt into the program receive a copy of the book and are invited to engage in online guided discussions; submit a piece for a creative writing contest; participate in group discussions during orientation; and attend the author’s public talk and other Kingston WritersFest events.

More information on QReads