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. 

The Common Reading for the Class of 2026 is They Called Us Enemy by George Takei.

They Called Us Enemy book cover

About the Book

They Called Us Enemy is an award-winning graphic memoir by George Takei, an actor and activist whose career spans seven decades. The book is a very personal story of Takei's experiences as a child in the Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II. It is an exploration of democracy, intolerance, civil rights and the responsibilities of citizenship in a global society. Although the topic is challenging at times, it is, in the end, a hopeful book. 

Class of 2026 students will receive their book in the mail over the summer with instructions for several assignments that will prepare you for the group discussions during New Student Orientation.

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.

  • 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