Community Read

The Simmons Community/First Year Read is designed to engage the campus community, generate robust discussions, and foster the exchange of different ideas and perspectives. The program takes place during the fall semester. Incoming first-year undergraduates receive a digital copy of the book and discuss it during their first-year seminar course, Simmons Explore. The Community Read program typically includes a book club, thematic panels, classroom discussions, and an author keynote and Q&A. For more information, email [email protected].

Fall 2022 Community Read

Photo of Author Malinda Lo, “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” Book Cover
Image: Photo of Author Malinda Lo, "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" Book Cover

The Fall 2022 Community Read is Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo!

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father–despite his hard-won citizenship–Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Save the Date: Author Malinda Lo will visit Simmons for a community talk and book signing on Wednesday, October 12 from 5 - 6:30 PM. In-person and virtual registration will be available soon! For more information, email [email protected].

Community Read Nominations

If you are interested in recommending a book for the Community Read, fill out the Community Read Book Nomination Form. Nominations should meet the following criteria:

  • May be fiction, nonfiction, or memoir
  • Has the potential to engage students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i from different disciplines and backgrounds
  • Explores themes and topics that may be relevant to first year undergraduates
  • Illuminates broad social, environmental, and/or cultural topics
  • Encourages reflection and discussion in a variety of courses and contexts
  • Invites readers to consider topics from diverse perspectives

Books written by women-identified or non-binary authors of color and/or otherwise underrepresented authors are strongly encouraged. We will not consider books with heavy partisan politics.

Submit a book nomination or the Fall 2022 Community Read! Nominations will be accepted until November 29, 2021.

Past Community Reads

  • Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi (Fall 2021)
  • How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi (Spring 2021)
  • What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, by Mona Hanna-Attisha (Fall 2020)
  • Make Your Home Among Strangers, by Jennine Capó Crucet (Fall 2019)
  • Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue (Fall 2018)
  • The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant (Fall 2017)

The Fall Community Read is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, the Office of Advancement, and the Office of Student Affairs, and made possible by a generous donation from Eileen Friars ‘72.

For more information, email [email protected].

Photo of Yaa Gyasi and screenshot of her book, Trancendent Kingdom

Campus & Community

Centered around the exploration of important themes and issues, the fall Community Read is designed to engage the campus community, generate robust discussions, and foster the exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives.