Novel inspires moral courage

Every year, Amarillo College chooses a theme based on the AC Common Reader.

The theme this year is “moral courage,” inspired by the 2014 Common Reader, Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake.

Courtney Milleson, an assistant professor who works in the Advising Center, is on the CR committee and helps choose the theme and book each year.

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Milleson said the book has been second for the past three or four years, so this year the committee decided it was time for it to be the Common Reader. Milleson said it was an easy pick because it is a quality book and brings a quality speaker to the college.

“It felt right; we weren’t forcing the book,” Milleson said.

Other departments have joined in to create events this year tied to the CR theme.

The English department is conducting an essay competition, and a visual arts competition is open to all students.

The Amarillo Museum of Art and Panhandle PBS also will focus on this year’s theme with a few events.

Jordan-Lake will visit AC Nov. 10-11. She will talk about the creative process at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Badger Den.

On Nov. 11, she will attend a reception at 3 p.m. at the Amarillo Museum of Art and at 7 p.m., she will give a lecture and sign books at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts at 900 S. Harrison St.

Milleson said she felt overwhelmed by the fact that the fictional events described in the book, some based on real events, happened in her lifetime.

It helps her to remember her own moral courage, she said.

“Every day I make choices; every day I stand in the gap,” Milleson said. “It reminded me of my commitment to other people.”

Frank Sobey, an assistant professor and English department chairman, said he enjoys the theme of moral courage and finds Blue Hole Back Home to be one of his favorite novels.

Sobey said he enjoys how Jordan-Lake explores the overall theme through each of the characters.

“She populates the story with believable characters, an authentic historical setting and a wonderfully engaging dialogue,” Sobey said by email. “But most of all, I like the narrator, Turtle.”

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