The Newcomb-Tulane College Reading Project, the common intellectual experience for the entering first-year class, engages students and faculty from different backgrounds and academic interests through the reading and discussion of a selected book.

Incoming students are tasked with reading the book over the summer, before they arrive on campus. During New Student Orientation, new students discuss the book with a Tulane faculty member as their first intellectual conversation at Tulane. Students will then have numerous opportunities to continue their engagement with the book themes through the Kylene and Brad Beers Reading Project Keynote Lecture and various other campus initiatives and programming.



2023 Reading Project Selection

Photo of the book Parable of the Sower

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is the 2023 NTC Reading Project selection for the incoming Class of 2027.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation.

At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.


Dive Into the Reading Project


Kylene and Brad Beers Reading Project Lecture

The Kylene and Brad Beers Reading Project Lecture, a keynote lecture around the book and its themes, is a principal experience of the Reading Project. Each year, the Beers family sponsors the book's author, or a complementary scholar, to speak with the first-year students during a lecture.

Join us on Thursday, August 31st for the 2023 Kylene and Brad Beers Reading Project Keynote Lecture, On Earth We're All Some Sort of Refugee Now: Political, Climate, Cultural.

This year’s lecture features Dr. Jacqueline Thanh and Thuc Doan Nguyen. As the Executive Director of VAYLA New Orleans, Dr. Thanh leads strategic initiatives in achieving equal opportunity and justice through innovating pathways for Asian American Leadership and intersectional activism in New Orleans and the Gulf South. Thuc was born in Vietnam and escaped with her family as a child boat person. She now writes for major magazines like Vogue, Esquire, The Daily Beast, VICE, Refinery29, Southern Living, New York Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and others. She is proudly based in New Orleans and writes feature screenplays based here about Vietnamese American women and People of Color. 
The lecture will take place in Dixon Hall Auditorium from 6-7pm. All members of the Tulane and New Orleans communities are welcome to attend!