2022 Community Book Choice


This year's required text for all incoming students is...

Hello Incoming Tigers!

I am delighted to announce that Steph Cha's Your House Will Pay has been selected as the Community Book for 2022-23. An award-winning novel published in 2019, Your House Will Pay is a fictionalization of the events surrounding the notorious killing of African-American teenager— Latasha Harlins—by Korean-American shop owner—Soon Ja Du—in 1991, a few weeks after the videotaped beating of Rodney King by several LAPD officers. In approximately 300 pages, Cha weaves a compelling story about how this traumatic event affects both families involved, as well as the Black and Asian communities in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times, which awarded Your House Will Pay its Best Mystery/Thriller Award in 2020, said, "As the action moves through SoCal's diverse and divided communities, grief, rage, repentance, duty to family and more, forces readers to consider all sides of complex moral issues." 

The Community Book Program (CBP) merged with the Core Program's Summer Reading last year, so Your House Will Pay will be a required text for incoming first-year students. The CBP Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) and the Core Steering Committee (CSC) jointly oversee the selection of the Community Book. The memberships of the AHC and CSC represent the multiplicity of constituents that comprise the College's campus community. Every year, the AHC tries to select a book that can be connected to one of the four pillars of the College's mission; this year's selection aligns with the pillar of Equity. Through an anonymized and inclusive process, the committees gathered title suggestions from Oxy's faculty, students and staff. Members also combed through lists of prizewinners, bestsellers and the review literature and employed their own knowledge and expertise to expand the list. It was a thorough and rigorous process.

With the CBP's mission statement and theme of Equity in mind, members of the AHC and CSC narrowed the list of contenders to four finalists and eventually selected Your House Will Pay as the consensus recommendation. The committees are unanimous in believing that this book will serve the best interests of our incoming class and other students. 

All Oxy students are offered the opportunity to acquire the e-version of Your House Will Pay at no charge. To obtain this free copy of the text, please send a request via email to communitybook@oxy.edu. You will then receive a response with a code and instructions for downloading your copy. We ask that all other members of the College community read this book in the format of their choice. We will be creating a library guide, study guides and other educational materials to support the CBP. The program will feature various in-person and remote events throughout the academic year. We look forward to kicking things off in early August with an exciting opening event with President Elam. More information will be coming in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, let us enjoy our summer read together! 

With best wishes,
Wendy Sternberg