BCC reads “The Martian Chronicles”

By Alex Couture

“BCC Reads!” is the title of the campus-wide reading program that aims to encourage students to read a particular book every year that can be discussed and integrated into classroom curriculum.

This year, “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury was chosen. Bradbury is also well known for his dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451.”

Wilma Dougherty, Chair of the “BCC Reads!” selection committee, describes “The Martian Chronicles” as a collection of short stories that involve “space travel, exploration and discovery, various social issues, and wonderful writing that makes us think about our actions, their consequences, and the future.”

“It’s all about content,” said Susan Johnston, program assistant with the Center for Liberal Arts.

Johnston said the book covers a range of topics, from science to society.

Although the stories are set on Mars, Doughtry said they provide “very rich material for discussing and looking at many human issues”.

Dougherty gathered and read book nominations and conducted the final vote with the program committee to decide the year’s book selection. Last year, around 28 books were nominated. That list dwindled to six, and then the committee voted.

The criteria for the “BCC Reads!” book are specific. Dougherty said it should be “meaningful and relevant” and “spark passionate debate.” The book should have broad content so that several different classes can use it, it should be around 300 pages so it can fit into a ten week curriculum, and it should be written in a style where individual parts can be read on their own. Dougherty said “The Martian Chronicles” exceeded the criteria.

To nominate a book, it must be deliverered along with a presentation about why it fits the criteria. Several volunteers will read each selection and give their opinion about its potentials.

“Our choice has to be one that not only meets our criteria, but it also needs to be a good read, well written, and free of stereotypes,” said Dougherty.

The “BCC Reads!” scholarship is another part of the program. According to the program’s website, it involves creating a presentation “that addresses the themes of the book and the problems and possibilities presented.”

This presentation can be done in many ways, by writing an essay, creating a software program, creating a visual interpretation or even a dance or musical interpretation. Then an endorsement is required from a faculty member, which must be sent to the Liberal Arts Center at BCC.

The center’s purpose for the program is to “strengthen literacy practices, promote campus and community collaboration, and generate excitement about ideas through reading and learning together.”

Book discussions are one way to get involved in the program. The next discussion of the book will be held in the LMC Event Center on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.