Marietta College’s First Year Advisory Committee, in coordination with the Office of the Provost, has selected The Legend of Colton H. Bryant (2008) by Alexandra Fuller for the 2011 Common Reading Program.
“The Common Reading is the annual kickoff for a whole year devoted to one of the four signature areas of the College,” said Dr. Rita Kipp, Provost. “This year's theme was Health and Wellness. Next year, the focus will be on Energy and the Environment. Speakers, films, and events during the year will keep us focused on the issues and challenges around that theme. The book is an appropriate reminder about the safety risks of the petroleum industry and may raise awareness about similar risks with other energy sources as well.”
Fuller wrote The Legend of Colton H. Bryant after moving to Wyoming and discovering the oil rigs on the high plains. Fuller said she was expecting the fierce weather and the roughnecks, the big skies and the industry men, but she wasn't expecting to encounter a real-life cowboy. Then Colton H. Bryant happened into her story, “a soulful boy with a mustang-taming heart and blue eyes that’ll look right through you.”
Fuller describes the life and death of the young man in Wyoming who lost his life on an oil rig. According to Fuller’s book, between 2000-06, Bryant was among 35 people who died in Wyoming’s oil and gas industry. After his death, Bryant’s company was fined $7,000 for safety violations, while boasting record profits the same year. Bryant’s family never received compensation.
The Common Reading Program is an opportunity for incoming students to participate in a shared intellectual conversation with the Marietta College community; to express ideas about a common text that many students, faculty, and staff are reading; and to respond respectfully to ideas others bring to the discussion.
All first-year students are required to read The Legend of Colton H. Bryant over the summer of 2011 and be prepared to discuss it when they arrive to campus in August. Other students, faculty and staff are urged to read it.