JSU Reads: A Common Reading Program

Callings Book Cover

We are pleased to announce Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work as the 2021-2022 Common Reading Program book.


“These are the voices of men and women of varied age, geographies, and backgrounds, driven by a fire from within to find meaning in their work.”

-Dave Isay, Founder of StoryCorps


StoryCorps began in 2003 with one storybooth in New York’s Grand Central Station, a small place for everyday people to collect and preserve stories through interviews with family and friends. From that one storybooth, StoryCorps has grown into a national organization whose mission is “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Dave Isay, StoryCorp’s founder, has compiled this volume in the StoryCorps series, focusing on the unique individual stories of people and their pursuit of fulfillment in their professional lives – we hear how they came to their chosen vocations and what their work has meant to them. These stories – from Ford assembly plant supervisor to NBA referee – provide insight into how our lives can been shaped by the work we do.

As first-year students, we’ve all wondered about choosing a major and career path, and in Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, Isay hopes to motivate readers to find their own calling by sharing the stories of people who have followed their inspiration into careers that are equally challenging and inspirational. Firemen, teachers, artists, actors, farmers, doctors, bricklayers, and business owners: all were drawn to their professions by a desire to create a life for themselves, their families, and their communities. By telling their stories, Isay demonstrates that work can be about more than the job; it can be about the impact people’s dreams and ambitions can have on their lives in a greater and more meaningful way.

Students will study and discuss the Common Reading Program book in English Composition and First-Year Student Experience courses. The goals of JSU Reads: A Common Reading Program are to unite first-year students and to promote thought and action on a variety of relevant issues by reading a common text during the first semester of college. In conjunction with this year’s selection, students will also enjoy a wide variety of events, including speakers, presentations, and service projects.