Common Reading Experience  


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Past Selections: 2010-2011 Academic Year

This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
Edited by: Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
"This I Believe"
About This I Believe
The "This I Believe" collection is a natural fit for the Aquinas community, but in order for you to understand why, you need to know more about the book and the project that inspired it.
The NPR website explains that "from 1951-1955, Edward R. Murrow hosted This I Believe, a weekly radio program that reached 39 million listeners. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries - anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. They shared insights about individual values that shaped their daily actions. The radio series was a phenomenal success and spread
throughout the world via radio, newspapers, and books. The first volume of This I Believe essays, published in 1952, sold 300,000 copies - more than any other book in the U. S. during that year except for the Bible. Fifty years later, National Public Radio and Dan Gediman, a Louisville radio producer, are again inviting Americans of all ages and all perspectives to examine their belief systems and then write a 350 - 500 word personal essay."
This year will be reading the collected essays, a New York Times best-seller, published in 2006 which features contemporary essays as well as selections from the original series. These essays spanning sixty-years provide a unique insight into a broad spectrum of American beliefs and create an opportunity for our community to express what we believe in response. According to Gediman, "Liberals might find out that conservatives have important ideas beneath the standard issue rants and vice-versa. Those of conflicting religious convictions might find common ground. It is possible but we will never know in our current conversational climate where dialogue is designed to create more heat than light." We invite the Aquinas community to accept this challenge and generate a community of light that values our most deeply held values and convictions.