Join CSUSM students, staff, and faculty in our first ever
Campus Common Read Virtual Book Club
Want to read and discuss books that feature diverse voices and unforgettable stories that inspire? The University Library is excited to launch the Campus Common Read Book Club! The entire campus is invited to participate in this book club. We hope that this gives participants an opportunity to connect, learn more about the selected Common Read, and share their experiences.
This year, we are hosting a virtual book discussion about this year’s campus common read, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover on April 28th from 12:00-12:50 p.m.
- Many of Tara’s father’s choices have an obvious impact on Tara’s life, but how did her mother’s choices influence her? How did that change over time?
- Tara’s brother Tyler tells her to take the ACT. What motivates Tara to follow his advice?
- Charles was Tara’s first window into the outside world. Under his influence, Tara begins to dress differently and takes medicine for the first time. Discuss Tara’s conflicting admiration for both Charles and her father.
- Tara has titled her book Educated and much of her education takes place in classrooms, lectures, or other university environments. But not all. What other important moments of “education” were there? What friends, acquaintances, or experiences had the most impact on Tara? What does that imply about what an education is?
- Eventually, Tara confronts her family about her brother’s abuse. How do different the members of her family respond?
- What keeps Tara coming back to her family as an adult?
- Ultimately, what type of freedom did education give Tara?
- Tara wrote this at the age of thirty, while in the midst of her healing process. Why do you think she chose to write it so young, and how does this distinguish the book from similar memoirs?
- Tara paid a high price for her education: she lost her family. Do you think she would make the same choice again?
- Begin on time
- Use the "Raise your hand" feature to comment or ask a question
- Use the mute button when someone else is talking
- Remember to mute yourself after you finish talking
- Be respectful of each other's comments and ideas
- Leave space for others to contribute to the discussion
An interview with Tara Westover
"Tara Westover* was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when Tara’s older brother became violent. Then, lacking a formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home." (from https://tarawestover.com/book)
"Tara Westover is an American author. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father's junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. Taught to read by an older brother, her education was erratic and incomplete. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education, she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.Educated is her first book." (from: https://tarawestover.com/bio)
The CSUSM Campus Common Read provides a shared experience of intellectual and community engagement by bringing the campus community together to read and discuss one text and its themes.