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First Year Summer Reading Program

All incoming students at Penn State New Kensington participate in the First Year Summer Reading Program.  Students are given a free copy of the book at Orientation, then asked to read it over the summer and come prepared to discuss it during Pride Days.  In addition to these book discussions, there is a colloquium event related to the book during the Fall semester.

 The goals of the First Year Summer Reading Program are to:

  • encourage you to read and think critically. 
  • give you a taste of what skills will be required of you in college.
  • provide a shared experience for new students on the campus.
  • enhance a sense of community between students, faculty, and staff by giving us something in common to discuss.

The 2015 book selection is: The Boom by Russell Gold

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold

First invented in fracturing, or fracking, has not only become a major source of energy, it is changing the way we use energy, and the energy we use.  It is both a threat and a godsend for the environment, and it is leading the revival of manufacturing in the United States. 

A definitive narrative history, The Boom follows the twists and turns in the development and adoption of this radical technolgoy.  It is a thrilling journey filled with colorful characters: the green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; a bare-knuckled Oklahoman natural gas empire-builder who gave the world an enourmous new supply of energy and was brought down by his own success and excesses; an environmental leader whose embrace of fracking brought an end to his public career; and an aging fracking pioneer who is now trying to save the industry from himself.

A fascinating and exciting exploration of one of the msot controversial and promising sources of energy.  The Boom "brings new clarity to a subject awash in hype from all sides...a thoughtful well-written and carefully reserached book that provides the best overview yet of the pros and cons of fracking.

What you need to do?

Read the book prior to Pride Day Orientation (August 19, 2015).

  • Be prepared to talk about the book and key points there in
  • Think about how this book impacts your life and how you feel about the fracking industy

Come to Pride Day Orientation prepared to discuss the book and bring your copy with you!

Handout for "The Boom" (PDF)

Past reading selections include:

  • Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich  (2005)
  • Strapped by Tamara Draut (2006)
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (2007)
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi  (200
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  (2008)
  • Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland  (2010)
  • My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah by Robin Wiszowaty  (2011)
  • Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks (2012)
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (2013)
  • This I Believe, Life Lessons by Dan Gediman (2014)