LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren, book cover, SMU common reading 2018Join Central University Libraries for the return of an annual tradition as SMU Reads launches the University’s 2018 Common Reading. Learn more about Lab Girl at festivities on Friday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Starbucks at Fondren Library Center. The event is supported by Friends of the SMU Libraries.

Free flowers will be available for all students who come to the event, as well as free copies of the book for discussion leaders and free plants for the first 10 staff and faculty members who sign up to be discussion leaders at the preview. Barnes and Noble will also have copies of Lab Girl available for sale.

> Sign up to be a 2018 SMU Reads discussion leader

Lab Girl is the autobiography of scientist Hope Jahren, who has pursued independent research in paleobiology since 1996. She takes the reader back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours playing in her father’s college physics laboratory, and tells how she found a sanctuary in science. Jahren also explores the intricacies and complications of academic life as she learns to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.” The memoir won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and was named a New York Times Notable Book.

The book recounts a life spent studying the natural world, “but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that inspires every scientist,” wrote Peter K. Moore, SMU associate provost for curricular innovation and policy, in a letter to the SMU community. “Jahren invites her audience to revel in the science of everyday life, to share her love of science, observations of the plant world, and hopes for protecting our environment. Lab Girl is an engaging, lyrical, and luminous read and reminds us that we can achieve great things when passions and work come together.”

The University intends to use the book as a launching point “toward a larger campus-wide discussion on science, sustainability, and mental health issues at SMU through panels, programs, and events,” Moore added. A visiting lecture by the book’s author will be part of the First Five Initiative for first-year students in Fall 2018.

The SMU Common Reading discussion for the incoming class of 2022 will take place Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at 2 p.m. Locations are to be determined; keep up with the latest news at the SMU Common Reading homepage.

> Watch for more about Lab Girl panels, programs and events at smu.edu/smureads