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Presenting the Common Reading Text for AY 2015-16: The Postmortal, by Drew Magary

The Common Reading Program Committee has selected Drew Magary’s dystopian novel The Postmortal as its inaugural text for the 2015-16 Common Reading Program. Magary’s novel presents a compelling and provocative portrayal of what happens when a cure for aging is discovered. After receiving the cure the main protagonist of the novel, John Farrell, navigates his way through a brave new world in which people respond in various and often troubling ways to their new-found sense of eternal youth. The utopian dream of living forever is further turned on its head as John confronts the unexpected environmental, economic, and social ills that follows from overpopulation, lack of employment, and the loss of the traditional arc of birth, growth, aging and death.

The Common Reading Program Committee invites all interested faculty, full-time and part-time and in any discipline, to incorporate the text into one or several of their classes this upcoming fall. One great strength of The Postmortal is how it lends itself to discussion across multiple disciplines. An economics class, for example, might address the economic impact of a gross population spike; a philosophy class might address our ethical obligations to each other; a class in the sciences might address issues of environmental sustainability; and an English class might address how the text fits into the rich tradition of dystopian literature.

A website will be available in late summer that will provide numerous resources for teaching the novel no matter your discipline. Each campus will also host several co-curricular events that will give faculty and students the opportunity to come together to engage with The Postmortal. These events will be established before the fall semester begins.

If you are interested in participating in the Common Reading Program, please respond to the survey that was recently sent to your college email address or contact Lorrie DiGiampietro at

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