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“The Boom” Chosen as 2015 Common Book

Future freshmen officially have their first Penn State assignment.

The Penn State Reads program selected its common book for the incoming freshmen class: “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World” by Wall Street Journal senior energy reporter Russell Gold. The book details the rise of fracking in the U.S and its impact on society.

“Fracking is an issue very relevant to Pennsylvania communities, and we thought it would be good to engage students, faculty and staff about something that’s going on right within our home state,” said Barry Bram, special assistant to the vice president of Student Affairs, the co-chair of the program. “Penn State Reads provides a shared reading experience to help facilitate conversation, connection and understanding among the university community, and we’re excited about branching out into a different direction in terms of a non-fiction science book next year.

Moving into the third year of the program, the common book is used to provide incoming students with a shared learning experience to engage in when they come to campus. The book is oftent references in first-year seminars

The book is selected by the program’s committee following a process that evaluates around 15 books at the onset. This year, the committee chose “Boom” because it was non-fiction, setting up a pattern of alternating between fiction and non-fiction each year.

“Everybody who read the book found it to be very balanced. We don’t foresee it as a book that articulates an argument in favor of or against fracking in general,” Bram said, adding that the selection committee vetted the book and its author through some faculty members in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “It’s a book based on facts that allows readers to make some of their own decisions about the benefits and drawbacks of fracking.”

Incoming students will be able to grab their book at the student bookstore soon or they can get a head start here.

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About the Author

Ted Hozza

Ted is a senior majoring in Community, the Environment, and Development, or as his friends here at Onward State like to call it, Architecture. You can probably find him at the Phyrst late at night with other Onward Staters if he's not somewhere else editing articles. You can follow him on Twitter @TedHozza or email him at [email protected]


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