Common Literature Experience Announced


The USU Common Literature Experience invites campus and community members to join incoming students in reading The Beast in the Garden, by David Baron, and attending the author’s convocation speech.


Author David Baron will speak at a free convocation on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 9:30 a.m. at USU’s Kent Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center. The convocation is open to the public and will be broadcast on USU’s Aggiecast system at



Now in its tenth year, Utah State University sponsors the Common Literature Experience to bring students, faculty, staff, and Cache Valley community members together in reading a common book.  Approximately 1,900 new students taking the University Connections course read the book during the summer and complete a reflective paper prior to the beginning of the class.  They also attend the literature convocation, held the Saturday before university classes begin.

Author of Beast in the Garden, David Baron.


This year’s literature committee, composed of students, faculty, staff and members of the community, reviewed many excellent nominations and selected The Beast in the Garden for its balanced discussion of the complex environmental issues related to human and wildlife interaction.  The book will allow students to examine issues related to man and nature, and the difficulty of defining the line between the two.

When residents of Boulder, Colorado, suddenly began to see mountain lions in their backyards, it became clear that the cats had returned after decades of bounty hunting had driven them far from human settlement. In a riveting environmental tale that has received huge national attention, journalist David Baron traces the history of the mountain lion and chronicles one town’s tragic effort to coexist with its new neighbors. As thought-provoking as it is harrowing, The Beast in the Garden is a tale of nature corrupted, the clash between civilization and wildness, and the artificiality of the modern American landscape. It is, ultimately, a book about the future of our nation, where suburban sprawl and wildlife-protection laws are pushing people and wild animals into uncomfortable, sometimes deadly proximity.

The Beast in the Garden is available in the USU Bookstore. For more information about the Common Literature Experience, please contact Lisa Hancock at 435-797-1125.


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