News and Announcements

10 May 2017

College of the Redwoods names ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ Book of the Year

College of the Redwoods has named The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot as its 2017/18 Book of the Year. The book is a nonfiction examination of a poor black woman whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, became one of the most important tools in medicine.

Winner of several awards, including the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the 2010 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for Excellence in Science Writing, the 2011 Audie Award for Best Non-Fiction Audiobook, and a Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Award, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was featured on over 60 critics’ best of the year lists.

Critic Dwight Garner of The New York Times describe the book as “One of the most graceful and moving nonfiction books I’ve read in a very long time . . . The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks . . . floods over you like a narrative dam break, as if someone had managed to distill and purify the more addictive qualities of Erin Brockovich, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Andromeda Strain . . . it feels like the book Ms. Skloot was born to write.”

The CR Book of the Year committee will be promoting the reading of the book in fall semester 2017, and distributing 900 books to students throughout the district. The committee will be collaborating with faculty, staff, students, and community members to create a series of discussion forums on the various campuses in spring semester 2018, during the week of Feb. 2-5.

The college is also offering an online, late-start, one-unit Book of the Year discussion class, Reading 10 beginning Monday, Sept. 11.

To register for Reading 10, visit

And to learn more about the Book of the Year program, visit or contact the committee chair, David Holper at 707-476-4370 or