Western Washington University has selected the book “Futureface: A Family Mystery, An Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging” by Alex Wagner as this year’s Western Reads text.
A story of Wagner’s “quest around the world – and into her own DNA– to answer the ultimate questions of who she really is and where she belongs, ‘Futureface’ weaves together fascinating history, genetic science, and sociology as Wagner ultimately begins to realize she is after something deeper than her own ancestry. In a time of conflict over who we are as a country, she tries to find the story where we all belong.” At the same time, Futureface pushes us to consider the question of who will we become—as a country and as individuals.
Alex Wagner is an Emmy-nominated journalist covering American culture and politics in print, online and on television. She is a national correspondent for CBS News and an executive producer and co-host of the political documentary series The Circus on Showtime. She writes regularly as a contributing editor for The Atlantic and co-hosts their weekly podcast, Radio Atlantic. Previously, she hosted the daily politics and current affairs program Now with Alex Wagner on MSNBC.
In addition to selecting this year’s text, “Futureface,” the Western Reads Selection Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and an outstanding team of first-and second-year WWU students, identified a theme “In Between (Belonging, Becoming)” as an entry point for conversation in the coming year. The committee believed this theme would help to support first-year students and the campus community in exploring questions related to students’ transition to life at the university. Who am I? How do I be myself in community? How do I maintain a strong relationship with family when my world and theirs are diverging? How do I know I belong here? Who will I become?
A wide variety of disciplines connect to this year’s text and theme. “In Between (Belonging, Becoming)” can relate to both human and ecological systems and draws on ideas central to a wide variety of WWU majors including: Business/Marketing; Biology; Chemistry; Anthropology; Sociology; Political Science; History; Philosophy/Ethics; Human Services; Community Health; Economics; American Cultural Studies; Design; East Asian Studies; Spanish; Psychology; Language, Literacy and Cultural Studies; Journalism; Humanities; English; and beyond. In the coming year, several experimental Western Reads Engaged Learning courses designed intentionally for first- and transfer-year students will be offered by departments across campus focusing on these questions. For more information, visit the Western Reads website: https://wp.wwu.edu/westernreads/courses-for-first-year-students/ .
In addition, both Alex Wagner and José Olivarez, a prize-winning author of a book of poetry titled Citizen Illegal and recent recipient of the prestigious Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, will be on campus for a public presentation, performance of their work, and dialogue focusing on questions related to this year’s Western Reads theme. This event will be held Monday, November 18 at 4:00 p.m. in the VU Multipurpose Room.
To get your copy of “Futureface” stop by the library main circulation desk or the AS Bookstore and pick one up today.
Western Reads is a campus-wide program that serves the university’s first-year mission by promoting intellectual engagement, community, and civil discourse with new students through experiences related to selected texts.
Please visit the Western Reads website for additional information on upcoming events and resources to support your use of the Western Reads text or email Molly.Ware@wwu.edu or Danielle.Smith@wwu.edu to learn more about how to get involved.