After much deliberation, The First Year Reading Experience (FYRE) Committee has selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women as the FYRE book for 2013-2014.

Based on the National Public Radio series, This I Believe is a collection of short essays by eighty Americans—the famous to the not-so-widely known—on highly divergent personal beliefs.  Essayists range from Bill Gates, Colin Powell, Newt Gingrich, Gloria Steinem, John Updike, and Isabel Allende to a freelance attorney, a civil engineer, and a professor of psychiatry.

The essays present diverse opinions on topics ranging from beliefs about God, country, and empathy to more unusual ones focused on eating barbecue and feeding monkeys.  Collectively and individually, the essays encourage readers to examine how they have arrived at their own beliefs and the degree to which their beliefs are shared by or differ from others.

Choosing a book for FYRE each year is a difficult task, according to FYRE Committee chair Verbie Prevost, because of the wide variety of interests of the committee members.

“While all of the members are readers, it is not surprising that reading tastes vary considerably.  But that’s a good thing as it led us to consider many different books.  But with This I Believe we were able to find consensus because the essays encompass so many different topics, styles, and tones,” she noted.

While the book will be used for the First Year Reading Experience (including use during orientation, in freshman composition classes, and in other activities throughout the school year), the FYRE Committee also encourages all members of the University and Chattanooga community to participate in this year’s reading experience and the related activities, including the University Convocation during the Fall semester.

Additional information about FYRE is available at http://www.utc.edu/Academic/FirstYearStudies/fyre.php

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