First-Year Read

Students studying outside Blake Student Commons

Think of the first-year read as your first assignment. With discussion groups and activities based on the book, you’ll begin your life as a college student exploring topics, themes (particularly as it applies to the University Theme), and meeting other students. First-year read texts are carefully selected to engage and inspire students, encourage reading for pleasure and for purpose, and to provide common ground for spirited discussion and reflection.

The first-year read for 2015-2016:

In preparation for the October 16, 2015 campus visit by author Ruth Ozeki, all first-year students and transfer students in WEL 100 will read A Tale for the Time Being. All in the Bay Path learning community are invited to read the novel and consider it in relation to the University Theme, “What does it mean to live well?” The novel presents much to consider and discuss, such as the value of emotional well-being, financial stability, the role of spirituality, and local and global connections with people and communities.

“In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace — and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox —possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.”

For more information, visit this Ruth Ozeki’s website:

Listen to an interview with Ruth Ozeki about A Tale for the Time Being

Previous first-year reads:


Three Little Words - by Ashley Rhodes-Courter


Do It Anyway by Courtney E. Martin


The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri


I Am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler