Each year, a panel of key university representatives compile a list of books for the Chancellor to select from. In result, the university community subsequently turns into a giant book club. Programs and curriculum are built around the selection, lectures are held, and discussion groups ignite exciting dialogue. All books are available for purchase at the Illini Union Bookstore.
Most recent Selection: 2019
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Thompson-Spires grapples with race, identity politics, and the contemporary middle class in this “vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive” (George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo) collection. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous--from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide--while others are devastatingly poignant--a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.