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Honors students to read aloud at One Book 'marathon'


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Sacramento State’s One Book and General Education (GE) Honors programs are teaming up Monday, April 21, and Tuesday, April 22, to present the annual One Book Long Read.

GE Honors students will take turns continuously reading out loud from Kristen Iversen’s Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days in Serna Plaza. They’re hoping passers-by will stop and listen for a while.

“Not everyone has read the book yet, so this is a way to reach out to people walking by and maybe get them interested in reading it,” says Hellen Lee, faculty coordinator of Sac State’s One Book Program.

Full Body Burden (Crown, $15 paperback, 432 pages) is the University’s 2013-14 One Book selection. It’s part memoir, part investigative journalism. Iversen, who spoke at the University Union Ballroom in November, remembers Rocky Flats as the “big secret” of her Colorado childhood in the 1950s and ’60s.

She grew up in the Denver suburbs, where neighbors speculated that the mysterious factory three miles away likely manufactured harmless household cleaning products – but they couldn’t understand why employees and people who lived near the plant were getting sick and even dying. In reality, Rocky Flats was a secret nuclear weapons plant that the Energy Department eventually designated “the most contaminated site in America.”

In Full Body Burden, Iversen uncovers the truth about the government’s secret operation that spread deadly plutonium far and wide – and the truth about her own family.

“Her book fits perfectly with the purpose of the One Book Program, which is to bring together various members of our campus and the surrounding community to discuss important issues facing the world today,” says Lee.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156. – Dixie Reid