NSU Common Read

The NSU Common Read unites first-year students from all majors across campus in reading the same book during the fall semester of their first year.

Each fall, the NSU Honors Program hosts a Common Read lecture, which is free and open to all of campus and the Aberdeen community. The speaker is either the author of the Common Read book or a person with expertise on the central theme of the book.


Northern State University has chosen the No. 1 New York Times bestseller “Salt to the Sea” as its 2017 common read.


Author Ruta Sepetys will deliver NSU’s annual Common Read Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Johnson Fine Arts Center Theater. The event is free and open to the public.


Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in more than 50 countries and 36 languages. Born in Michigan, she is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee raised in a family of artists, readers and music lovers. She currently lives in Tennessee.


“Salt to the Sea,” winner of the Carnegie Medal, is set in 1945 as World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia. The book, which has been optioned by Universal Pictures, follows the story of four refugees on a desperate trek toward freedom. Their paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff.

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Authors & Speakers


  • 2017: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys; Speaker: Ruta Sepetys
  • 2016: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; Speaker: Anthony Ray Hinton
  • 2015: Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite by Suki Kim; Speaker: Suki Kim
  • 2014: Ready Player One by Ernie Cline; Speaker: Ernest Cline
  • 2013: Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; Speaker: Jeannette Walls
  • 2012: Outcasts United by Warren St. John; Speaker: Warren St. John
  • 2011: 1491 by Charles Mann; Speaker: Charles Mann
  • 2010: The Routes of Man by Ted Conover; Speaker: Ted Conover