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May 19, 2011

Public radio oral history project spurs book and 2011 Summer Reading Program selection

The ULM Summer Reading Committee has announced this year's selection for the 2011 Summer Reading Program,"Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project", edited by Dave Isay.

StoryCorps is the largest oral history project of its kind.

Excerpts of StoryCorps recordings are featured on NPR's Morning Edition, airing locally on KEDM Public Radio, 90.3 FM, at approximately 5:20 and 7:20 a.m. every Friday.

Isay founded StoryCorps and its parent company, Sound Portraits, a not-for-profit, independent radio production company dedicated to telling the stories of marginalized American voices.

Since 2003, almost 30,000 everyday people have shared life stories with family and friends through StoryCorps.

Each conversation is recorded in a soundproof, traveling booth on a free CD to share.

The collection is being sent to the Library of Congress, and stories will eventually be available online.

From these recordings comes the book, Listening Is an Act of Love, which creates a moving portrait of American life.

"The voices here connect us to real people and their lives – to their experiences of profound joy, sadness, courage, and despair, to good times and hard times, to good deeds and misdeeds," writes Isay.

"To read this book is to be reminded of how rich and varied the American storybook truly is, how resistant to easy categorization or stereotype. We are our history, individually and collectively, and (this book) touchingly reminds us of this powerful truth."

ULM Director of Freshman English Mary Adams and the English Department will use the book as an integral part of English 1001 classes and will sponsor an essay contest.

University Seminar students will have activities related to the selection as well, according to ULM Director of Retention Barbara Michaelides.

The ULM Summer Reading Committee consists of representatives from the five colleges, the Library, and the Student Success Center.

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