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Past Finalists

Based on faculty, staff, and student nominations, the Rambler Read Book Selection Committee reviews a number of fantastic books before choosing the Rambler Read. Below are the finalists from year's past: 


  • Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine. An invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine’s questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices as our public and private lives intersect.

  • When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors. An empowering account of survival, strength and resilience, and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.


  • Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez. Drawing on the rich traditions of Latinx and Chicago writers, Olivarez creates a home out of life in the in-between. Combining wry humor with potent emotional force, Olivarez takes on complex issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and immigration using an everyday language that invites the reader in.

  • The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui. An evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape from Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.