In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951—and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Henrietta Lacks, whose cells—harvested without her knowledge or consent—contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in-vitro fertilization, and the impact of space travel on human cells. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life’s multi-layered approach raises fascinating questions about race, class, and bioethics in America.
The One College, One Book program is jointly sponsored by Buswell Library and the College Life faculty committee. Its purpose is to promote a shared experience across the campus of reading, reflecting on, and discussing significant works of literature, science, history, theology, or other subjects, and the themes and questions these books raise.
Each spring, book recommendations are solicited from the entire campus community. A committee of students, faculty, and staff reviews the recommendations and selects the year’s book.
All members of the college community are encouraged to read the book during the summer or early in the school year. Copies are for sale at the campus bookstore. Groups or individuals on campus are also encouraged to participate in and/or host opportunities to engage with the book and its themes, such as discussions, chapels, art, music, or drama.