The common reading program is designed to foster intellectual engagement and participation for all members of the NDMU community through a shared experience.

What is Common Read?

All students, faculty, and staff read the selected literary work and participate in various opportunities throughout the academic year to engage in scholarly inquiry, broaden and deepen their understanding and responsiveness to social problems, promote dialogue and interdisciplinary exchanges, and seek opportunities to put the new learning into action.

Faculty members integrate the common read into each course for the academic year inviting the student to explore the same piece of work through multiple lenses, an approach consistent with the liberal arts tradition.

Code Girls book cover2020-21 Selection: Code Girls

Code Girls tells the story of more than 10,000 women who were recruited to break Axis codes during World War II, work that saved countless lives, shortened the war—and pioneered the modern computer and cybersecurity industries.

Author Presentation

Liza Mundy will conduct a virtual visit with NDMU on October 27, 2020. Join us for a public presentation at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Attend the Presentation

About the Author

Liza Mundy

Dr. Valeria Luiselli

Liza Mundy is an award-winning journalist and New York Times-bestselling author of four books including Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. Published in 2017, Code Girls tells the story of more than 10,000 women who were recruited to break Axis codes, work that saved countless lives, shortened the war—and pioneered the modern computer and cybersecurity industries. The book was a New York Times best-seller, a Washington Post best-seller, and a Wall Street journal best-seller. It has sold more than 200,000 copies and has been translated into ten languages to date. It received rave reviews in publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, and Studies in Intelligence, which said that “Code Girls pays tribute to an unsung group of patriotic Americans who, more than seven decades later, are just now receiving their due." It has won awards including "Best General Audience Intelligence Book" of 2018 from the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, which said that "Code Girls does for women of that era what Hidden Figures did for African American women of the 1960s and Windtalkers did for the native American code communicators of World War II."

Previous Selections
  • Tell Me How It Ends by Dr. Valeria Luiselli
  • Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
  • In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
  • Breaking Night by Liz Murray
  • Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book Selection

The entire campus community is encouraged to submit nominations for the common reading each September. An interdisciplinary group consisting of faculty members, staff, and students review the nominations and feedback and select the piece of work based on the following criteria:

  • Consistent with the mission of the University
  • Raises issues related to gender and global perspectives
  • The topic is broad enough for the widest range of disciplines to apply their specific approaches to the exploration of the piece of work and to provide an infrastructure for interdisciplinary inquiry and discussion
  • Accessible for first year students in terms of interest and level of academic difficulty
  • Lends itself to related activities such as service experiences, artistic projects, residence hall activities, etc.
  • A reasonable chance that the author would be able to visit campus