Bookshelf in the Glynn Longue

The Glynn Summer Read: 2023

Glynn first-year scholars read a common set of books, selected by current Glynn scholars, over the summer before they start Notre Dame. They meet to discuss the books at a festive event at the start of the fall semester. Students engage in thought-provoking conversations and get to know one another and other members of the Glynn community, including the directors and other scholars.

Below are the books for 2023. Since there are just three books on the list, we strongly recommend reading all of them so that you can better participate in the discussion. Links are provided to suggested editions on Amazon. Books can also be accessed at your public library, on audiobook apps, or through an interlibrary loan.


Klara And The Sun Book Cover

Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage, 2006)

Klara is an Artificial Friend who lives in a store until she meets Josie, a human girl who brings Klara home to be a companion. As she observes Josie’s life, Klara learns about human nature, friendship, and family. Ishiguro’s dystopian novel examines current technological issues around Artificial Intelligence and gene editing alongside perennial human ones surrounding mortality and love. The book is available here.


The Code Breaker Book Cover

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson (Simon and Schuster, 2021)

To complement Ishiguro’s novel, Walter Isaacson’s non-fiction work takes readers on a thrilling quest that may transform humanity as we know it. This book follows biochemist Jennifer Doudna’s journey to discover the building blocks of human life. Doudna’s work has led to profound biological advances with the rise of CRISPR, an approach to genome editing that allows scientists to do everything from developing vaccines to altering embryonic DNA. With these new possibilities, however, arise new questions about our ability to change our genes and our future. You can find the book here.  


The Islands Book Cover

The Islands: Stories, by Dionne Irving  (Catapult, 2022)

Written by one of Notre Dame’s own English professors, this collection of twelve short stories follows the lives of Jamaican women as they scatter across the globe from London to Panama to San Francisco. As each grapples with the impact of colonialism, their stories interweave the complex issues of family relationships, immigration, and discrimination as they make their way in the world. You can purchase the book here.