Common Reading Experience (CRE)

2015-2016 Book Selection

Persepolis book cover and author, Marjane Satrapi Photo © Maria Ortis

The 2015-2016 Common Reading Experience Book Selection is The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This memoir is the story of Satrapi's childhood and coming of age in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. The book reveals the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval. It is the chronicle of a young life entwined with the history of her country, yet filled with many broad global themes.

As she grows in understanding of her world beyond childhood years, Marjane's boldness causes her parents to worry over her continued safety in Tehran. At age fourteen, they make the difficult decision to send her to school in Austria. Vulnerable and alone in a strange land, she endures the typical ordeals of a teenager. Over time, she gains acceptance but finds herself alone and homesick. Though it means putting on the veil and living in a tyrannical society, Marjane decides to return to Iran to be close to her family. In a difficult period of adjustment, she continues to speak out against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age 24, she realizes that while she is deeply Iranian, she cannot live in Iran. She then makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her homeland for France.

Themes of personal identity, gender, family history, religion, political turmoil, social justice, censorship, war and the struggle for rights and freedom intertwine throughout this graphic novel. To learn more about this book and events happening at USF, go to

The Common Reading Experience

Common Reading Experience logo

The Common Reading Experience is a collaborative effort involving the Office of Undergraduate Studies, Student Affairs, and USF Libraries. The goal is to engage students, faculty and the University community in a lively discussion about important world issues connected to a common reading. For more information, click here.

First-year students will have the book integrated into their Academic Foundations courses and selected ENC 1102 First Year Composition courses. Other faculty teaching in both undergraduate and graduate courses will include parts of the book in their coursework. Events offered by various offices, such as New Student Connections, Housing & Residential Education, Faculty Fellows, and Parent & Family Programs, will involve undergraduate and graduate students in this year-long focus on the common reading.

Mission Statement

The Common Reading Program is designed to provide USF students with a common intellectual experience to generate discussion, promote critical thinking, and instill a sense of community among students, faculty/staff, and alumni. The USF Common Reading Program will: