2023-2024 Community Book ConnectionOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong
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.
What is Community Book Connection?The Community Book Connection (CBC) is a college-wide, interdisciplinary reading initiative dedicated to promoting a culture of dialogue, discussion, and debate at CCBC. We are committed to fostering student engagement and student success by developing stimulating and challenging classroom opportunities and co-curricular programs.
Each year we democratically select a book that we recommend to the college community. We encourage faculty and staff from many different disciplines and program areas to adopt the book for use in their courses and initiatives; we offer workshops, trainings and grant-funded opportunities to help faculty develop as educators.
To further enrich our community learning experience, members of the CBC community organize an exciting array of co-curricular activities centering on the themes of the book. In conjunction with internal and external partners, the Community Book Connection sponsors keynote lectures, panel discussions, debates, poetry readings, field trips, workshops, student presentations, theatre performances, dance and musical performances, art exhibits, fundraisers, service learning initiatives, and other types of programs.