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First-Year Reading Experience  

Welcome! This site is for students participating in the First-Year Reading Experience at UM.
Last Updated: Jan 3, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

2013 Print Page

The Book

Mountains Beyond Mountains book cover

Image used with permission from publisher

“Mountains Beyond Mountains” recounts the work of renowned infectious-disease specialist Dr. Paul Farmer as he tackles tuberculosis and the effects of poverty in Haiti, Peru, Cuba and Russia. Kidder has won multiple literary prizes including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

Find Books by Tracy Kidder

  • UM Bookstore
    Get 10% off the First-Year Reading Experience book, online or on the shelves, at the Bookstore in the University Center.
  • Mansfield Library
    Find Kidder's books at the university library.
  • Missoula Public Library
    Find Kidders's books at the public library.

Drumroll Please...

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 First-Year Reading Essay Contest  

We are pleased to announce the winners in both categories of the First-year Reading Experience Essay Contest. This year, students were invited to submit in two categories:  Scholarly Analytical and Personal Reflection. The many strong submissions in each category evidence students' insightful engagement with the first-year book. 


Clare Super’s essay "Treating Illness in Poverty: Simple Problems with Complex Solutions” is the winning essay in the Scholarly Analytical Essay category.

Meaghan Gaul's essay "Even the Smallest Fire Can Still Burn" is the winning essay in the Personal Reflection Essay category.


What is the First-Year Reading Experience?

The purpose is to provide new students a common connection through a thought-provoking book.  Every year, a committee of faculty, staff and students at The University of Montana select a book from nominations submitted by the entire campus community. The program is not mandatory but it is highly encouraged to help prepare students for their academic life on campus. 

Some classes may include it as a textbook and others may simply refer to it, but students will always be told when they receive the syllabus and will have ample time for any mandatory reading.  There is also a wonderful writing contest with a cash prize for students’ essays about the book.  This year, the author of the book will come to campus to present a free lecture about the book and conduct an exclusive forum for students to ask questions.  The book is available online from the bookstore or when students arrive on campus. 

We believe that books forge powerful bonds and we are excited to begin the discussions this year!


First-Year Writing Contest

As part of the events and activities surrounding the First-Year Reading Experience, we invite first-year students to submit 750-1250 word essays in one or both of the following categories: (1) the scholarly/analytical essay or (2) the personal reflection essay. A cash prize of $250 will be awarded to the writer of the best, most compelling essay in each category; the essays themselves (with the authors’ permission) will be posted to the First-Year Reading Experience webpage. Students are limited to one entry per category. See the attached file for details.

The DEADLINE for entries is closed.

The Author

Tracy Kidder photograph

Photo credit: Gabriel Amadeus Cooney

UM is delighted to welcome the author to campus.  Don’t miss the opportunity to hear him speak!

Monday, September 9, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

George and Jane Dennison Theatre


The Student Forum will take place at 3:00 p.m. in the University Center the same day.


Tracy Kidder Bibliography

Kidder, Tracy. Among Schoolchildren. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
---. Home Town. New York: Random House, 1999.
---. House: A Memoir. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
---. Mountains Beyond Mountains. New York: Random House, 2003.
---. My Detachment. New York: Random House, 2005.
---. Old Friends. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
---. The Road to Yuba City: A Journey into the Juan Corona Murders. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974.
---. The Soul of a New Machine. Boston: Little, Brown, 1981.
---. Strength in What Remains. New York: Random House, 2009.
Kidder, Tracy, and Richard Todd. Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction. New York: Random House, 2013.

Select Short Fiction and Essays
Kidder, Tracy. “The Adjuster.Granta 38 (1991).
---. "In Quarantine." Atlantic Monthly 246 (1980): 92-100.
---. "The Death of Major Great." Atlantic Monthly 233 (1974): 82-84.
---. "Making the Truth Believable." The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work. Ed. Marie Arana. New York: PublicAffairs, 2003. 299-303.


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