Framingham State University
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Office of First-Year Programs
Ben Trapanick, Director, First-Year Programs
Dwight Hall Room 116

Ashlee Givins, Assistant Director, First-Year Programs
Orientation Coordinator
Dwight Hall Room 116

Each year a new title is selected as the Common Reading for that academic year.  Students are expected to read the book during the summer prior to arrival in September and be ready to actively take part in classroom discussions.  All Foundations seminars will be incorporating the book into their curricula and many other courses will be using it as well.  Students should read the book with critical eyes, thinking about many of the themes that are present.  Students should also consider how it relates to the life of an 18-year old student who is beginning life as a college student.  Events will take place throughout the first semester related to the book. 

The selection for the Class of 2018 is When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka

About the book-

On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her house, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her family’s possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their homes and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert.

In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells the story of one Japanese American family from five flawlessly realized points of view—the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after almost four years in captivity. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today’s headlines.
Taken from

Framingham State is excited to announce that Julie Otsuka will be visiting the campus and giving a talk on Thursday, October 9, 4:30 pm in Dwight Performing Arts Center.

Framingham State University

100 State Street

PO Box 9101

Framingham, MA 01701-9101


Phone: 508-620-1220