On the Same Page

The Jones Library hosts an annual On the Same Page community reading program each spring. The entire Amherst community is invited to read the book and participate in the related programs. A variety of programs are offered to enrich the reading experience and to encourage dialogue about the themes the book presents. 

What is an On the Same Page reading program?

On the Same Page is designed to bring the local community together, reading the same book and encouraging discussion and communication about the book and the themes it contains. Intended to be an annual event, On the Same Page – Amherst will explore a different book each year to include a variety of themes, topics, genres, and writing styles.
On the Same Page Amherst
Being Mortal


The 2016 selection featured the nonfiction title Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. The book examines the hardest challenge of the medical profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. He offers examples of different models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care, to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Being Mortal was a bestselling title that was featured on many lists and nominated for many prizes, including The New York Times Notable Books of the Year, The Economist Magazine Books of the Year, Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year, Apple iBooks Best of the Year, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Guide to the 100 Best Books of the Year, Oprah.com Best Books of the Year, NPR Best Book of the Year, Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year, Barnes and Noble Best New Books of the Year, Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, Audie Award Finalist, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, Los Angeles Times Holiday Books Guide, L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist, National MS Society Books for a Better Life Award Winner, and the Indies Choice Book Awards Winner.
Girl Who Fell From the Sky


The 2015 selection featured the novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. This novel was the winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction in 2008, which is awarded biennially to the author of a previously unpublished novel of high literary caliber that promotes fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, and named a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist.

Set in the 1980s, the novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy, the nature of which gradually unfolds. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty force her to confront her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.
Sandcastle Girls
The 2014 selection featured the novel The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. The author's 15th novel takes the reader to Syria in 1915, a time and place that left a haunting legacy to those of Armenian heritage, with repercussions still felt today. The Sandcastle Girls was a New York Times bestseller, a Publishers' Weekly bestseller, and an Indiebound bestseller, as well as being an Oprah.com "Book of the Week" and named one of the "Best Books of 2012" by the Washington Post, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and BookPage. The Sandcastle Girls was also awarded the ANCA Arts & Letters Award and the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

The novel tells the story of Elizabeth Endicott, who arrives in Aleppo, Syria in 1915 with a diploma from Mount Holyoke College, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. Elizabeth has volunteered to help the refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. Years later, their American granddaughter embarks on a journey back through her family's history, uncovering a story of love, loss, and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.
Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The 2013 selection featured the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize, as well as the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for fiction.

The novel tells the story of Oscar, a likeable but overweight New Jersey ghetto nerd, who aspires to be a great fantasy writer and to fall in love. But these dreams may never come true, due to the fukú, the supposed curse that has followed several generations of his family in the Dominican Republic. While exploring mature and controversial themes, the writing style and language of this book bring the reader to the urban streets of this immigrant neighborhood and uses a mixture of English and Spanish to capture the true flavor of the environment.