Common Read-2023-24

The AY 2023-24 Common Read Book Selection: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus 

We are pleased to announce the 2023-24 Common Read Book Selection: Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus.

The book--featuring an idiosyncratic sharp-witted protagonist, Elizabeth Zott, a Chemistry researcher turned pioneering TV chef--is an intelligent, skilled chemist who consistently outperforms her male co-workers. But she is also a female in mid-century America, so when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock, she is immediately fired. It is no surprise that a novel set in this era has resonated so resoundingly with its audience. Readers need only look to the #MeToo movement to confirm that systemic sexism is still rampant in America. With its themes of institutionalized patriarchy and resistance to change, Lessons in Chemistry offers a unique opportunity for today’s students to explore their role in confronting these constructs and systems and for analyzing the theme of challenging gender roles in 1950/60s America.



#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GMA BOOK CLUB PICK  Meet Elizabeth Zott: “a gifted research chemist, absurdly self-assured and immune to social convention” (The Washington Post) in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show. 

This novel is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel” (The New York Times Book Review) and “witty, sometimes hilarious...the Catch-22 of early feminism.” (Stephen King, via Twitter)A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek. Read more


We invite all faculty from all disciplines to join us: Incorporate this text in your curriculum and participate in the week of Common Read events during the Spring 2024 semester.

This Common Read selection is an appropriate text across disciplines and student populations at our College, both in credit and non-credit courses.

Common Read Events

The Common Read is one of the high-impact teaching practices that  integrates cross-disciplinary events in support of a campus-wide, shared reading of a selected text. These events provide participating facaulty and students additional opportunities to engage socially and academically across the campus, while supporting the learning in each individual class.

March 18th – 22nd 

Mon, 3/18 12:00-1:00 PM; S112
Trauma: An Eastern Point of View; Presenter: Rezan Akpinar 

Mon, 3/18 2:00-3:30 PM; S112
Presenter: Kathie Pecinka 

Tue, 3/19  2:00-3:30 PM; S 112
Animals Healing Humans; Presenter: Christine Pagano                                      
A video presentation by nursing students describing the mental and physical health benefits of pet therapy.    Inspired by the dog character Six-Thirty in the book Lessons in Chemistry   

Wed, 3/20  12:00-2:30 PM; M 136
Hidden Figures
Presenter: Mercedes Franco

Viewing and discussion of the Oscar nominated film which is an adaptation ofMargot Lee Shetterly's book about the inspiring, real-life stories of mathematician Katherine Jonson (Taraji P. Henson), computer scientist Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and engineer Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) – three brilliant African American women working at NASA whose work was vital to the early years of the U.S. space program.Set in the 1960's amidst the racial segregation of the Jim Crow south, the film depicts Black women's struggle for professional recognition in male-dominated STEM fields.

Thurs, 3/21  9:00-10:30 AM; S112
Sexual Assault Prevention
Presenter: Barbara Rome 

A sexual assault prevention presentationApril is sexual assault awareness month, sexual assault on college campus is pervasive, student or not college-aged students (18-24) are more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault. This presentation will highlight things we can do to prevent sexual assault by using the bystander approach which is an intervention strategy that encourages witnesses to act. This presentation is inspired by the character Elizabeth Zott and her sexual assault.   

Thurs, 3/21  11:00 AM-12:00 PM; RFK 214
Open Rehearsal 
Organizer: Nicole McClam

The students of DAN 160, Dance Repertory, invite you to visit a rehearsal of their upcoming performance featuring a new work on the theme of gender norms and expectations expressed in Garmus' Lessons in Chemistry. The students will share the work-in-progress and discuss their research and explorations behind the work. 

Fri, 3/22  12:00pm-2:00pm; S112  
Screening AfterShock; 
Facilitator: Barbara Rome

A viewing of the documentary that addresses racial and gender bias in the healthcare system by amplifying and listening to the lived experiences of people directly impacted by the maternal child health crisis in the US. Following the deaths of two young African American women in New York City due to childbirth complications, two bereaved families galvanized activists, birth workers, and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises today: the US maternal health crisis. A discussion will follow.

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.