Common Reading Experience


Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis has been selected as UNC Charlotte’s Common Reading Experience text for Fall 2019.  As the subtitle suggests, this is a story about education, immigration, race, Americanness, a feel-good tale that is funny, honest, sad, and compellingly written.  The selection committee is confident that this text will spark discussions of systemic inequalities and cultural diversity, a major goal of the UNC Charlotte Common Reading Experience.  We are excited to see what instructors who adopt the text will be able to do for and with their students to increase their understanding of a complex world. We encourage wide-scale campus engagement with Spare Parts, and we hope that this text will be widely referenced by those who teach first-year students.  

Author Joshua Davis will visit campus in and speak to the public at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

The Common Reading Experience at UNC Charlotte provides a shared academic experience to assist first-year students in their transition to UNC Charlotte. This program offers unique opportunities for self-reflection, critical thinking, student interaction, and understanding of diverse perspectives. Adoption of the common reading is especially encouraged in first-year seminars, first-year writing, and general education courses, though any faculty interested in using the text in their teaching is welcome.                               

Note to Faculty:  If you are interested in considering this text for adoption in your Fall 2018 courses, please contact Carla Eastis at so we can send you a review copy of the book and include you on announcements related to our instructors workshop, the author visit, and other campus events of the Common Reading Experience. Email your name, department, the course(s) you are considering using the book in, and anticipated enrollment numbers.  You should also submit the book to the campus bookstore as a required text for any course in which you will be using the selection.  

Former Common Reading Experience Selections

2018 Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah
2017 The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
2016 Find Me Unafraid, by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner
2015 The Postmortalby Drew Magary
2014 The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers
2013 Wine to Water: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World, by Doc Hendley
2012 Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference, by Warren St. John
2011 How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, by Moustafa Bayoumi
2010 The Blue Sweater, by Jacqueline Novogratz
2009 Listening is an Act of Love, by Dave Isay
2008 Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario
2007 The Color of Water, by James McBride