Summer Reading Program

Welcome to Campbellsville University and to the 2013 Summer Reading Program

Campbellsville University’s Summer Reading Program provides incoming freshmen with a shared intellectual experience and engages you in the University’s academic community even before you arrive on campus.

This year’s selection is an inspirational novel. Review



Part melodrama and part parable, Mitch Albom's BOOK,  The Five People You Meet in Heaven, weaves together three stories, all told about the same man: 83-year-old Eddie, the head maintenance person at Ruby Point Amusement Park. As the novel opens, readers are told that Eddie, unsuspecting, is only minutes away from death as he goes about his typical business at the park. Albom then traces Eddie's world through his tragic final moments, his funeral, and the ensuing days as friends clean out his apartment and adjust to life without him. In alternating sections, Albom flashes back to Eddie's birthdays, telling his life story as a kind of progress report over candles and cake each year. And in the third and last thread of the novel, Albom follows Eddie into heaven where the maintenance man sequentially encounters five pivotal figures from his life (a la A Christmas Carol). Each person has been waiting for him in heaven, and, as Albom reveals, each life (and death) was woven into Eddie's own in ways he never suspected. Each soul has a story to tell, a secret to reveal, and a lesson to share. Through them Eddie understands the meaning of his own life even as his arrival brings closure to theirs.



On Being an Active Reader

Have you ever been reading something—your eyes scanning across the page, the words flashing through your mind—and then realized that you don’t remember anything that you just read? Too often, we are passive readers: the words flow over us, but the meaning escapes us, which isn’t really reading at all.
Becoming an active rather than a passive reader is important for your college success. Active readers engage with the texts they are reading by asking questions, challenging ideas, making connections, looking up unfamiliar vocabulary or allusions, and discussing ideas with others. Often, an active reader will read with a pen in hand, making margin notes as he or she reads. Your copy of The Five People You Meet In Heaven is your own, so don’t be afraid to mark it as you read.
Practicing the habits of the active reader will help you to respond to the following discussion questions. Write responses to the questions and bring them with you when you arrive for the Fall 2013 semester. These questions will guide our discussion of The Five People You Meet In Heaven in your freshmen orientation course.
(This section is revised from Dr. Beth Kemper’s work, 2006)

Discussion Questions for The Five People You Meet in Heaven

  1. In The Five People You Meet in Heaven it says "all endings are also beginnings." What does this mean? How has it been true in your life? Is this comforting, sad--what emotions does this idea arouse in you? How can knowing this be helpful?
  2. Throughout the novel, we learn about Eddie by hearing about various birthdays. What do these birthdays teach us about him? What do they add to the story? Why did Albom choose birthdays for this purpose? 
  3. Who are the five people he meets in heaven? What is the significance of each? The five people are not necessarily who Eddie would have expected to meet. What might Albom be saying about the way our lives touch other lives and what is significant? 
  4. The old woman tells Eddie, "you have peace when you make it with yourself." Do you believe this is true? What would you say to Eddie when he laments that he accomplished nothing with his life? Discuss what has he accomplished.
  5.  Briefly recall the five lessons Eddie learns. How might these be important for all of us? Share which five people might meet you in heaven, and what additional or different lessons might be important to your life.
  6. Discuss how Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven has provided you with a different perspective of your life.