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June 5, 2008

ULM announces 2008 Summer Reading Book

A Norwegian community, Arendal, distributed copies of "The Alchemist" to all of its employees in hopes of stimulating new ideas within the community. The University of Louisiana at Monroe is doing the same with its new students.

"This book is about self-discovery, and we wanted that to be the first experience for our freshmen," said ULM President James Cofer.

In the next several weeks, all incoming freshmen will receive free copies of the book as part of ULM's Summer Reading Program, which introduces first-year students to intellectual exchange at the university. After reading the book during the summer, students will discuss the text in the fall's English, Freshman Year Seminar (FRYS) and other courses. Students will also compete in an essay contest related to the book.

"The Alchemist," by award-winning author Paulo Coelho, has been published in 150 countries in 63 languages and has been ranked first place in bestselling lists in 18 countries. The story is about Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels in search of worldly treasures. His journey illustrates the wisdom of listening to one's heart and following one's dreams.

ULM's reading program began in 2005. Prior book selections include:

2007: "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder
2006: "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser
2005: "Bayou Farewell: the Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast" by Mike Tidwell

For more information about the reading program and this year's book selection, visit

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