Summer Reading Requirement

Each year, Wentworth requires all incoming students to participate in a shared reading experience. The purpose of this assignment is two-fold:

  • First, when you arrive on campus this fall for Wentworth Opening Week, you and all your new classmates will have something in common. You will have shared your first academic experience.

  • The second purpose of the assignment is to prepare you for the college-level environment. During opening week, you will have your first opportunity to discuss the summer reading book. Then, when you begin classes you may discuss and write about this book.

Summer Reading for 2013

The Summer Reading Committee chose Damien Echols' Life After Death, as the summer text for the fall semester of 2013.

About the Book

Life After Image"In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the “ringleader,” was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011.

Now Echols shares his story in full—from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.

In these pages, Echols reveals himself a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. Life After Death is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature." (

Campus Visit

Mr. Echols will be on campus Thursday, September 12, 2013 to address the entire first year class.  A Q&A and autograph session will follow his reading.

For questions regarding the summer reading, please contact Elaine Mom at or (617) 989-4293.

Past Summer Reading Selections

  • 2012 - Hemon Aleksandar's Love & Obstacles
  • 2011 - Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  • 2010 - Dennis Lehane's Mystic River
  • 2009 - Frederick Reiken's The Odd Sea
  • 2008 - Andre Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog
  • 2007 - Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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