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Students Read About Themselves in MU Freshman Summer Reading Choice

2010 Freshman Summer Reading Program Pick: Generation Me by Jean Twenge

May 26th, 2010

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu
Jean Twenge is the author of GenerationME, the book picked for incoming freshmen to read as part of the 2010 Summer Read Program at Mizzou.

Jean Twenge is the author of GenerationME, the book picked for incoming freshmen to read as part of the 2010 Summer Read Program at Mizzou.

COLUMBIA, Mo. –  While expressions such as “just be yourself” and “express yourself” may be used frequently today, they were not always common phrases. Some researchers cite these expressions as proof of pervasive narcissism among a younger generation — those between 11 and 40 years old. The growing obsession with one’s self is examined in the book Generation Me by Jean Twenge, which University of Missouri freshmen will be encouraged to read for the 2010 Freshman Summer Reading Program. The campus-wide program is designed to unite diverse students with common literature before they arrive on campus.

In her book, Twenge examines the lives of those born in the 70s, 80s and 90s – the generation she labels “Generation Me.” In her research, Twenge found that the individuals of Generation Me are expected to be higher-achievers and more independent than previous generations, but also suffer more from cynicism, depression and loneliness. To write the book, she compiled data from many journals and previous studies, in addition to conducting her own research on the age group.

“This book allows for a wide range of discussion topics and should spark a lively debate between faculty, staff and students,” said David Rielley, director of new student programs at MU. “Even though you may not fall into that generation stereotype, it helps you understand their perspectives.”

Freshman and undergraduates will have the opportunity to participate in small book discussions led by MU staff and faculty members during Fall Welcome on Aug. 19. Twenge will visit the MU campus on Sept.  9 and will hold a book signing, attend a public reception at Ellis Library, and present a lecture that will be free for students and $10 for the public.

The Freshman Summer Reading Program was created in 2004 to generate a comfortable first academic experience for students at the university and to challenge issues of civil, social and cultural importance. The committee selected this year’s book from a list generated by multiple sources such as committee members, student suggestions and university personnel. Books picked for the program are expected to promote discussion and address relevant societal or cultural themes.

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