Class of ’14 to read Currie’s ‘Everything’

In preparation for their first semester at Duke this Fall, the fresh-faced Class of 2014 will be reading Ron Currie, Jr.’s “Everything Matters” this summer.

Currie begins his novel set in 1974 with a baby boy learning the world will end in 36 years—June 15, 2010—when a comet crashes into Earth. The novel continues to show how the protagonist grows up with this foresight.

“There is something for everyone [in ‘Everything Matters’],” said sophomore Meredith Jewitt, a member of the Summer Reading selection committee. “It can be read in a superficial or in-depth way and it’s up to the students to choose how they want to engage in it.”

The protagonist, John “Junior” Thibodeau, is a particularly relevant character because he ages with the students and faces similar life experiences with respect to relationships with parents, siblings and romantic interests, Jewitt said.

She added that she hopes Currie will be able to speak to the freshmen in August, considering the success of Junot Diaz’s visit last year. Diaz wrote “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which was the summer reading for the class of 2013.

“I think the Summer Reading program allows students who come from almost every corner of life to begin their careers at Duke on common ground by discussing issues and underlying themes that relate to everyone,” freshman Thomas Varner, a member of the Summer Reading selection committee, said in a statement Monday. “The summer reading book can open an incoming student’s eyes to new perspectives and experiences similar to how they will do so throughout their Duke career.”

“Everything Matters” was one of six possible selections for the Class of 2014’s summer reading. The other five books were “The Girl from Foreign,” by Sadia Sheppard; “Oryx and Crake,” by Margaret Atwood; “Outcasts United,” by Warren St. John; “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy; and “The Snakehead,” by Patrick Keefe.

The freshman summer reading is selected from a list of books recommended by faculty, students and staff. The selection committee narrows the list down to five or six books after several rounds of discussions, and a final book is chosen after feedback from the Duke community.

Copies of “Everything Matters” will be mailed to the Class of 2014 early this summer.


Share and discuss “Class of ’14 to read Currie’s ‘Everything’” on social media.