by Cheyenne McGinnis
Special to the Ledger
The 2015–2016 Common Read at the college is anything but common, and when the novel is written by an alumna, it knocked the word “common” right out of the park.
Former student Candice Millard is the author of two award-winning novels, “River of Doubt” and “Destiny of the Republic.” Her novel “Destiny of the Republic” is the current Common Read.
The novel is a non-fiction about the assassination of President James A. Garfield and the medical lapses that actually killed him.
Video courtesy of Knopf Double Day Publishing Group
“[Millard is] the most illustrious alumna. One in a million,” Dr. Steve Gerson, professor of English and technical writing, said. He explained her writing as beautiful and that it “reads like music.”
Gerson had Millard as a student and remembered her having a good work ethic and explained that Millard is more of a historian than a writer and that researching is her passion.
“I remember the second I saw her. There was something special about her. She emitted radiance. I wanted to say she landed in my class,” Gerson said.
Dr. Katherine Karle, professor of English and co-chairman of the Common Read program, explained that Millard’s novel educates students about our history and involves students in current political climates, and that “‘Destiny’ is just flat-out well written. To us, the value of a book lies in its ability to encourage students to think about their lives and the nature of the world in which they live. ‘Destiny’ gives students the opportunity to compare the 21st century to the 19th century in many different areas,” Karle said.
According to Dr. Monica Hogan, chairman of the Common Read and professor of English, “In the case of Millard’s book, many within the English department are interested in her non-fiction narrative voice, her way of organizing and bringing the elements of the story together and her documentation practices.”
Millard struggled at the beginning of her career, but with patience and a leap of faith, she landed an Edgar Award and on the New York Times best-seller list.
Millard is scheduled to visit the college at Yardley Hall in the Carlsen Center on Nov. 12 from 9:30–10:30 a.m. Students and faculty may attend for free and have her sign their book. The English department will also be sponsoring an art contest, where the winners will be invited to a small luncheon with Millard in the afternoon on Nov. 12.