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Spring into the Semester Common Reading Program: Home

Join Us for a Discussion of Educated by Tara Westover

Dickinson College students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to join us for a community discussion of Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. This event will take place at the Waidner-Spahr Library on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 4:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is now closed, but we welcome additional attendees to join us on the day of the event.  Please find us at the registration table near the main (High St.) entrance of the library, starting at 4 p.m.

The Spring 2019 Common Reading Selection: Educated: A Memoir

Educated: A Memoir

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when Tara’s older brother became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

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About the Spring into the Semester Common Reading Program

The common reading program is designed to provide shared intellectual experiences, build community, and encourage dialogue and discussion on a timely issue. This is an opportunity for the Dickinson community to come together at the beginning of the spring semester, when there are few broad community-centered programs already scheduled. It will also allow students who were abroad in the fall semester to connect with the broader community as part of their reintegration into campus life.

The next common reading event will take place at the Waidner-Spahr Library on Monday, January 21, 2019, the first day of the Spring 2019 semester. 

This event is sponsored by the Dickinson College Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Student Life, and the Waidner-Spahr Library. Books for alumni are provided by the Office of Engagement & the Dickinson Fund. Staff and faculty copies have been provided by Human Resource Services.

For more information, contact Donna Bickford ( or Jessica Howard (

Borrow Educated From The Waidner-Spahr Library

Buy Educated

Whistlestop BookshopEducated is available for purchase from Whistlestop Bookshop, which is owned by Dickinson alumnus Jeff Wood. Whistlestop is offering a 20% discount to those who use the DSON2019 discount code during the checkout process. There are no shipping fees for those who select "pick up in store" at checkout.

Educated is also available at the Dickinson College Bookstore.

Dealing with Trauma Triggers

In Educated, Tara Westover describes violent incidents that she experienced as a child. Some readers may feel triggered by this material.  

This self-care checklist for dealing with trauma triggers in the media may also be useful in a non-emergency situation. 

In the case of an urgent need, please refer to these Emergency Resources

Past Common Reading Programs