Uncommon Reads Overview

Written by: Brian Paulsen

Every semester the University of Florida Honors program unveils a new selection of courses specially tailored for Honors students, a large portion of which are the Uncommon Reads. Uncommon Reads courses—one-credit discussion courses centered around a particular book or text—are some of the most popular Honors classes on campus and are, for many students, staples of the Honors experience. Students take Uncommon Reads for many different reasons, such as to explore some of their favorite books or introduce themselves to one they may not have read before. Uncommon Reads courses are invaluable parts of the Honors experience. With a crop of new courses announced for the fall, students will have an even greater chance to experience it for themselves.

This fall sees both the return of several popular past Uncommon Reads courses as well as the continuation of newer courses introduced within the last year. Some examples of returning courses include the Lord of the Rings course (taught by Dr. Cory Alexander), the Alexander Hamilton course (taught this semester by Dr. Sean Adams) and How to Kill a City (taught by Dr. Joel Black). These courses have proven to be wildly popular in the past and, as a word of advice, usually fill up quickly. I would recommend moving quickly during registration if you wish to take one or any of the other returning Uncommon Reads courses. Newer courses being offered will include classes taught by teams of university faculty members and upper division Honors students. These courses explore a wide variety of topics, including fiction, ecology, urban development and chess. Fans of literature may want to take note of the Poisonwood Bible and Frankenstein courses, which will explore the themes and historical contexts of these renowned novels. If the music world is more your style, then perhaps the Gainesville Punk course, an exploration of Gainesville punk music scene and its history, will pique your interest. Those interested in ecology and sustainability may want to consider any of the numerous courses offered on these themes, such as the Voyage of the Turtle and Sixth Extinction courses. 

If you have a particular topic or theme that you’re interested in, chances are there’s an Uncommon Read that explores it. The courses listed here are only a fraction of the offerings available in the fall and the full list of planned courses can be found in the Fall 2021 course catalog (course code IDH2930) and on the new Honors website. Taking an Uncommon Reads course is a great way to meet other Honors students and interact with a subject you’re passionate about, all while earning Academic points for your Honors requirements. These courses are (just as the name implies) truly uncommon experiences—I wholeheartedly recommend that you try them for yourself.

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