readthis!A series of lectures by University of Arkansas – Fort Smith faculty members are slated for the spring semester surrounding the book chosen for this year’s ReadThis!, a community read program sponsored by the university.


In the lectures, faculty members will analyze “Into the Beautiful North,” a novel by Luis Alberto Urrea chronicling a young Mexican woman’s foray into the United States to recruit Mexican men to repopulate her hometown in Mexico. Each lecture will approach the text from different perspectives to enrich readers’ understanding of the work.


Dr. Christian Gerard, co-chair of this year’s ReadThis! committee, said the novel “is a book that reminds us why we fell in love with reading to begin with.”


“In ‘Into the Beautiful North,’ Urrea embraces the tradition of storytelling with deft craft and respect for the tradition of writing,” Gerard said. “He tells a story that is accessible, readable, and enterable by the reader so that we may delight in his use of language itself as his language lives inside of us, asking each of us to consider ourselves as individuals, as humans, as citizens in communities whose boundaries are not always as firm as we'd like to believe. As we invest in this story, we are reminded that we're also investing in ourselves and our own stories that we make and remake as we grow.”


The lectures are free and open to the public. Scheduled faculty lectures include:


Feb. 22: Dr. Christian Gerard, “Crafting Place’s Place-ness,” 12-1:30 p.m., room 122 of Boreham Library.


March 8: Dr. Ann-Gee Lee, “Women’s Language and Power,” 12-1:30 p.m., room 122 of Boreham Library.


March 15: Amanda Schafer, “At the Intersection of Culture and Experience: Pop Culture, the Internet, and Identity,” 12-1:30 p.m., room 122 of Boreham Library.


April 19: Dr. Cammie Sublette, “Cuisine and Culture,” 12-1:30 p.m., room 122 of Boreham Library.


April 26: Dr. Rosario Nolasco-Schultheiss, “Into the Beautiful South,” 12-1:30 p.m., room 122 of Boreham Library.


A lecture by Dr. Laura Witherington, titled “‘Into the Beautiful North’ and National Identity,” was also given Feb. 7.


Previous books chosen for the Read This! program are “House Made of Dawn” by N. Scott Momaday, “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon, and “True Grit” by Charles Portis.


For more information about this year’s ReadThis! program, contact Gerard at 479-788-7560 or


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Article by John Post, Director of Public Information
Date Posted: 
Friday, February 10, 2017
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