First-year Common Reading

Your educational journey at Bucknell will begin with a Common Reading. It's a way for you to explore, make intellectual connections and experience the vibrant community you are joining.

We want the Common Reading to resonate throughout your first year and beyond. During New Student Orientation, you'll meet in small groups to discuss the book. Performances and talks relating to the Common Reading will continue throughout the year to weave the book's themes into your experience.

Class of 2028 students will receive their book in the mail over the summer with instructions for several assignments that will prepare them for the group discussions during New Student Orientation. Students will also receive access to a Common Reading Moodle page with resources and more detailed information about the assignments.

Sag Harbor book cover by Colson Whitehead

About the Book

The Common Reading for the Class of 2028 is Sag Harbor by bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Sag Harbor is "a tenderhearted coming-of-age story fused with a sharp look at the intersections of race and class" (The New York Times). The novel explores themes of identity, belonging, place and purpose.

Portrait of author Colson Whitehead leaning forward against a white box, staring upward and off camera to the right.

Hear More From the Author


Colson Whitehead, the author of Sag Harbor, has been named the 14th Janet Weis Fellow in Contemporary Letters at Bucknell.

The Class of 2028 will have the opportunity to hear him speak on Sept. 9 in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. Mark your calendar now for this opportunity you won't want to miss.

Learn more

Past Common Readings

You are taking part in a long-standing Bucknell tradition, and we welcome you to this community of scholarship and exploration. The Common Reading provides students with their first opportunity to experience a classroom discussion led by faculty and staff from many disciplines. The reading and these discussions will introduce you to the process of examining a topic through different lenses and diverse perspectives — a hallmark of a Bucknell education.

The following past Common Readings are available in the Bertrand Library.

  • 2023: Sitting Pretty, Rebekah Taussig
  • 2022: They Called us Enemy, George Takei
  • 2021: The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 2020: What the Eyes Don’t See, Mona Hanna-Attisha
  • 2019: Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
  • 2018: Antigonick, translated by Anne Carson
  • 2017: Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
  • 2016: Loving Day, Mat Johnson
  • 2015: The Good Food Revolution, Will Allen
  • 2014: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid
  • 2013: Hamlet’s Blackberry, William Powers
  • 2012: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • 2011: This I Believe, Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
  • 2010: Five Minds for the Future, Howard Gardner