JBU Reads

Welcome to JBU!

Dear John Brown University student,


Congratulations on your decision to enroll at John Brown University!  In coming to JBU, you’re joining a learning community in which students learn not only from professors and books but from each other.  Moreover, professors are not simply dispensers of knowledge but fellow learners who continually explore new ideas and perspectives.


One important feature of a learning community is the discussion of good books.  Thus, your first step in joining the JBU community is the Summer Reading Program we call JBU Reads.   This year’s theme is "Who is My Neighbor?"  Last fall, the JBU Reads committee asked students, faculty, and staff to recommend a book that best fits this theme.  Here are the winners:  Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together, Ron Hall & Denver Moore's Same Kind of Different as Me, Chaim Potok's The Chosen, and Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken


We expect that you will choose to read one of these books before you join us for Orientation Week in August.  To help you get the most out of this experience, we have created this booklet.  In it, you will find the biography of each recommender, a brief plot synopsis, and a brief essay explaining why you should read that particular book.  We hope you choose the right book for you.  It is not required to purchase a book, so browse your local libraries or convince friends and family to read with you. 


During Orientation week, you and your peers will discuss these books and this year’s theme with a JBU professor and upper-level students.  At this meeting you will be expected to write a brief essay exploring the redemptive quality of the text you have chosen to read.  So, it is important that you read the book carefully and critically.  This academic exercise will count as your first grade for COR 1002:  Gateway Seminar in Christian Scholarship.


I hope you enjoy the book, and I look forward to meeting you in August.




Dr. Jacob Stratman

Assistant Professor and Head of English

Coordinator of JBU Reads