These freshman year common reading titles will provide your student body with a strong foundation for critical thinking.
Remember that book that really opened your eyes during your freshman year of college? Maybe it made you think about something in a whole new way. Maybe it reminded you of something you wanted to know more about at one time but forgot. For many, the books they read and study during their college years are some of the most influential and formative texts they’ll approach. Share one or several of the titles with your freshman class and create a valuable discussion right at the outset of their higher learning years.
Science, Technology & Sustainability
1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This bestselling work of nonfiction details the legacy of one African American woman’s unknowing contribution to the study of cancer research and her magnificent impact on the scientific community.
Colleges and universities who have used this title for FYE programs in the past include Saddleback College, North Carolina Central University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Religion & Spirituality
2. Agnostic by Lesley Hazleton
Author Lesley Hazleton presents readers with a thoughtful and detailed understanding of Agnosticism — a religious belief that a large portion of modern Americans believes.
3. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
In this much-anticipated autobiography, Gloria Steinem — lifelong activist, writer, and all-around inspiring person — shares some of the most significant milestones that occurred along her fascinating journey.
Iowa State University has used this title in their Lectures Program.
Writing & Creativity
4. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
Full of wit and charm, as well as practical knowledge, Steven Pinker’s best-selling manual on how to write in the modern age will serve as a reliable guide for any aspiring writer.
Colleges and universities who have used this title for FYE programs in the past include The University of Vermont.
Diversity & Cultural Studies
5. We Too Sing America by Deepa Iyer
This American Book Award-winning title delves deeply and intelligently into some of the most recent and important racial incidents we’ve seen. Activist Deepa Iyer evaluates what this means for the future of the United States.
BookPal is reading this title for book club! Ask us what we think of the title by leaving a comment below.
6. Arrival by Ted Chiang
Now a major motion picture, this best-selling novel introduces a new generation of readers to the power of science fiction, as well as the meaning of language, curiosity, and exploration.
Colleges and universities who have used this title for FYE programs in the past include Duke University.
7. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
This classic novel not only encapsulates the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s, but it also speaks beautifully to the angst and turmoil that people continue to feel throughout every generation.
Kent State University has used this title for FYE programs in the past.
8. The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr
Ever wonder what all the new and amazing technologies may mean for us as a culture? Best-selling author Nicholas Carr explores this question and so much more. He takes on how robots and other amazing scientific discoveries may impact our world in the long run.
9. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
From the bestselling author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating and studied book that helps readers understand how their small daily choices in productivity can affect their lives in big ways.
The University of Pennsylvania has used this title for FYE programs in the past.
What books would you recommend for freshman year or common reading programs?
Share with us by leaving a comment below. For more ideas, check out all our blog posts on FYE programs.