It PAYS to Read the Common Reader

Gloria Hochstein - 2013 Convention Chairby Gloria J. Hochstein, 2013 Sigma Tau Delta Convention Chair

The Common Reader for the 2013 Convention in Portland, Oregon, is Anne Fadiman’s entertaining collection of essays, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. You probably already know that, but did you know that the Sigma Tau Delta common reader isn’t just for the convention anymore?

The Regents offer financial incentives—the Regents’ Common Reader Awards—to chapters that organize and host a local event or activity around the common reader. It is easy to apply for and receive $100 for your chapter after your common reader event. You simply email your Regent on or before March 6, 2013. Refer to region listings for your Regent’s contact information. Include the following information in your email:

  • A cover letter, signed by the Chapter Sponsor (or sent from the Sponsor’s email address), confirming that the activity or event took place
  • A narrative, not to exceed 500 words, describing the activity or event
  • A list of all participating persons or groups

Each Regent is able to grant up to TEN of these Regents’ Common Reader Awards, and chapter members do NOT need to attend the convention to be eligible for these Regents’ Common Reader Awards. What kinds of events qualify, you ask? Your common reader event could be a discussion of all or part of Ex Libris (face-to-face or online), a public reading of one of the essays in Fadiman’s collection, a reading of original poetry or prose inspired by all or part of Ex Libris, or any other activities or events that revolve around all or part of the common reader.

Why not read Ex Libris this summer and then organize a chapter event or activity on the collection in time to inspire members of your chapter to submit a creative or critical work on the Common Reader for the 2013 Convention? Awards of up to $500 (each) will be given in Portland in March 2013 for critical essays or creative works about all or parts of Ex Libris.

Even if you or your chapter does not apply for the Regents’ Common Reader Awards, and even if no one from your chapter writes about Ex Libris for the convention, you do want to read Anne Fadiman’s collection this summer. If there ever was a book of essays JUST for the Sigma Tau Deltan, Ex Libris is it. This collection will definitely encourage you to reflect on the power of language in our lives. It is a delightful, smart, funny, thoughtful, quirky, and often profound collection of essays about reading, books, literacy, and so much more. This is the PERFECT summer read for people who love language and literature and books and reading.

(For information on the book discussions going on this summer on the Sigma Tau Delta blog, or for information on how to order the Common Reader, refer to About the 2013 Common Reader.)

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