About the TCU Common Reading

Welcome to TCU! Over the next few years, you will discover many traditions that form an essential part of the TCU experience. The Common Reading Program—a shared learning experience for all
incoming students—is one of those traditions. Through interactive group discussions led by worldclass faculty and staff, the Common Reading offers your first glimpse into the TCU learning community. It also provides a point of unity amid the rich diversity of the incoming class. We hope this book will spark meaningful conversations and create bonds that will last throughout your time at TCU and beyond.

This year’s selection is Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of a Global Citizen, by Firoozeh Dumas. Born in Iran, Dumas relocated to the United States as a child, where she attended college and met her French husband. In this series of poignant, insightful, and often hilarious anecdotes, Dumas explores the unique challenges and rewards of blending many cultures together. From the complexities of multi-family holidays, to the awkwardness of dating in college, to the joys of food, Laughing Without an Accent reflects on the aspects of life that truly speak across borders.

In preparation for the group discussions on Friday, August 18 we ask that you write a brief essay reflecting on one or more of the prompts listed below.

  • Think of a moment in your life when you felt like a cultural outsider. How was it similar to any of the multicultural experiences Dumas mentions? How was it different?
  • Dumas identifies herself in the book’s subtitle as a “global citizen.” What does that description mean to you, and do you feel it accurately describes Dumas? Would you describe yourself the same way? Why or why not?
  • One recurring theme in the book is how complicated and stressful (and occasionally funny!) it can sometimes be to communicate even with the people closest to us. Was there a particular moment in Laughing Without an Accent that reminded you of relationships in your own life? How so?

Your essay should be about 400-500 words long. You may turn this essay in through the TCU Common Reading website (www.commonreading.tcu.edu) anytime before August 4. If you have any questions about the Common Reading Program, please feel free to email us at commonreading@tcu.edu. We look forward to welcoming you to campus in the fall!


William Gibbons, Associate Dean, College of Fine Arts
Vanessa Roberts Bryan, Assistant Dean, Student Development Services
Co-Chairs, TCU Common Reading Committee


Previous Common Readings:
Class of 2021- Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas
Class of 2020- How to Win an Election by Cicero
Class of 2019- The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
Class of 2018- Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Class of 2017- Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Dandicat