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Announcing the Ogden Honors Shared Read 2016

Nonfiction book on three female soldiers selected

The LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College has selected the novel Solider Girls: The Battles of Three women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe as its 2016 Summer Shared Read text. Thorpe relates the story of three women through four years of interviews with the women and on information gathered from their emails, letters, diaries, Facebook posts and photographs.

Published in 2014, Solider Girls is story of three women who were in the National Guard and ended up deploying within the last decade. The book opens with the story of an 18-year-old woman who enlists to try to find funds to attend a university in the future. In 2004, she is sent to Afghanistan at age 21. While in Afghanistan, she becomes close with a single mother in her late 20s and with the oldest female in their Battalion that is about to become a grandmother. Solider Girls continues the tale of the three women as they transition into different roles in the military and how they continue to rely on each other for support as they enter the civilian world back home. Solider Girls was chosen in part as the 2016 Shared Read for its relevance to the curriculum HNRS 2000: Why War?, the gateway course for incoming Ogden Honors students. HNRS 2000 uses the history of warfare as a lens to examine social responsibility and teach critical analysis skills. 

Author Helen Thorpe is a is an award-winning journalist who lives in Denver, Colorado. Her magazine work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The New YorkerTexas Monthly, and 5280. Soldier Girls is her second novel. Ms. Thorpe will give the address at the Ogden Honors Convocation in September 2016.

The Shared Read Program is designed to introduce new students to the academic and intellectual culture of the Ogden Honors College through a common reading experience. Each spring, a faculty committee selects a single text as required summer reading for all incoming students and as recommended reading for current Honors students. Our academic year is then kicked off in the fall by the Ogden Honors Convocation, at which the author of the Shared Read text gives the address.

Incoming Ogden students are required to read Soldier Girls by August 22. Students can purchase the book at the Barnes and Noble on LSU’s campus, or at their local bookstore.

Article by Joan Lyons, Ogden Honors College