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New One Book combines memoir with expose


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New One Book Selection

It’s time to get immersed in another great book.

Kristen Iversen’s Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats is Sacramento State’s One Book selection for 2013-2014.

The book is an account of a young woman’s early life in a small Colorado town near what’s known as “the most contaminated site in America” – the nuclear weapons plant in Rocky Flats.

One Book seeks to introduce the same book to all facets, disciplines and class levels of the campus, inspiring discussion and debate. The program encompasses a number of activities, such as an author visit, scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13.

“This One Book is particularly special because it’s our first book that specifically addresses issues that are immediately relevant to the natural sciences and health and human services,” says One Book coordinator Professor Hellen Lee.

Iversen’s book tackles such issues as plutonium contamination, childhood cancer, birth defects and alcoholism as Full Body Burden weaves a coming-of-age memoir with investigative journalism that incorporates court documents and FBI and EPA reports.

The Kirkus Reviews and American Library Association each named the book as one of the best of 2012. Iversen’s work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times and The Nation, and she has been on C-SPAN and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air.

Iversen’s campus visit is sponsored by Sacramento State’s Department of Physics and Astronomy’s Chien Hu Institute. It includes a community reading, lecture and book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the University Union Ballroom. That event is free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, Iversen will take part in a panel discussion and a midday reading, presentation and question-and-answer session for the campus community.

Other One Book activities throughout the academic year include a free film series related to the book’s topics; the Long Read, in which students read the One Book aloud continuously in a public space; a University Library exhibit; and a musical performance based on the book.

Among the many One Book sponsors and partners are Academic Affairs, the Hornet Bookstore, and University Enterprises Inc.

For more information on Sac State’s One Book program and related events, go to For media assistance, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Craig Koscho