By Braulio Tellez
Tattoos and tales of interstellar travel come alive in this year’s common book.
Eastfield’s fifth annual common book is Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man,” a collection of short stories tied to a main character.
The whole college community is encouraged to read the book, and many instructors have incorporated it into their course curriculums. The common book committee has put together a series of events intended to inspire participation.
“The Illustrated Man” is about a stranger with animated tattoos covering his body. He meets the nameless narrator, who becomes curious about the tattoos.
The narrator soon learns that the tattoos were given to the illustrated man by a time-traveling woman, long since gone. As the night goes on, the tattoos come alive and tell vivid stories of martians and the follies of man’s existence with technology.
“We were looking for themes that could be used across every classroom and were not limited to just English or history,” librarian Judy Wayne said.
Wayne, a member of the common book committee, said this book is easier to write essays and build projects around than past common books.
“Conquering space and humans meeting extraterrestrials for the first time, those things are timeless,” Wayne said.
The committee has planned events tied to the book throughout the year. This month, there was a screening of the movie “Gravity,” which was inspired by the book, and lectures by science fiction author Eric Flint.
Dr. Lars Krutak, a Smithsonian anthropologist, will visit in November to discuss the multitude of body modifications and tattoos he has observed and studied around the world.
English professor Amanda Preston, a member of the book committee, said she is thrilled by the diverse events planned around the novel.
“The great thing is that one day we’ll have a science fiction based event, discussing the fantasies of the book, then the next will be based on science fact, covering the hard sciences that inspired the technology in the book,” Preston said.
The book is being used in various studies, opening the door to unique interpretations of its themes and concepts.
“The committee really seems excited about the interdisciplinarity of the book and the opportunity that we have to be able to work with both the STEM division and the arts and communications division,” she said.
More “hands-on” events will also take place, such as the zombie-alien invasion game.
“It’s a week-long game that will start the week of Halloween and end on Halloween,” librarian Jean Baker said.
Baker created the game and says it is similar to tag. Students will start off as humans and, once tagged, will turn into zombies, slowly creating a giant horde that the survivors will have to fight off.
“The students will also receive missions they must accomplish throughout the week,” Baker said. “The objectives will be given out in the library at certain times, which students can find on the TV message boards around campus.”
Students looking for resources to help write essays on the book can find a page dedicated to its various themes on the library website.
The page contains links to audio files of book chapters, YouTube videos and even a free e-book version