Skip to content
Texas A&M International University’s Common Read Program, spearheaded by University College, is a University-wide initiative aimed at engaging all members of the University and the surrounding community in a common academically oriented intellectual activity.

Since 2008, the program, dubbed “Reading the Globe,” has enabled all First Year students to engage a selected internationally focused book through their University Seminar during the Fall semester. This provides the opportunity for discourse about issues relevant to students and raises social awareness on a local and global scale.

Faculty and staff also participate in the Common Read, fostering and strengthening the growth of an intellectual community in and around TAMIU that supports students' academic development.
RTG Book students

2017-2018 Book Selection

        RTG Book 2017

A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir

Lev Golinkin

A compelling story of two intertwined journeys: a Jewish refugee family fleeing persecution and a young man seeking to reclaim a shattered past. In the twilight of the Cold War (the late 1980s), nine-year old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border with only ten suitcases, $600, and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna. Years later, Lev, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family's long trek, locate the strangers who fought for his freedom, and in the process, gain a future by understanding his past.

About the Author

Lev Golinkin, a graduate of Boston College, came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now called Kharkiv) in 1990. His op-eds and essays on the Ukraine crisis have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and, among others; he has been interviewed by WSJ Live and HuffPost Live. A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka is his first book.


Author's Visits

Friday, October 13, 2017
Freshman Session
12:30-1:30 pm
Fine & Performing Arts 107: Recital Hall

Open Public Event
3:00-4:00 pm
Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center 101

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Lev Golinkin speaks at Laredo Public Library
9:30 -11:30 am
1120 Calton Rd, Laredo, TX 78041

RTG Logo   
Contact Information

University College
Zaffirini Student Center 223
Texas A&M International University
Laredo, Texas 78041

Follow RTG on Instagram - @TAMIUreadingtheglobe

Dr. Catheryn Weitman
University College, Dean

Dr. Conchita Hickey
Reading the Globe Coordinator