Berkeley’s Summer Reading for Freshmen

Logo of the Universit of California, Berkeley

With the exception of last summer, I have done posts each year on this blog of the required reading at whatever colleges or universities I can find. Because I work solely with adult learners in an open admissions program, I do not get to experience this aspect of college life.

The University of California, Berkeley, that hotbed of everything counter-culture in the 1960s is still doing it differently. Incoming Cal Bears [do any freshmen think of themselves that way today?] have a large choice of books from which to pick their one read–25 in fact! You’ll find the official list here. I’m putting them up in this post so I can comment on any that I’ve read or that interest me. You are free to simply scan the list–there a links to Amazon below the photos. I do not make a cent off your clicks. They are just for convenience.

The Titles I’ve Read

Normal People–threw it back without finishing. You can read the reason why HERE

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I reviewed this on my old blog. I loved every word of it!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Read My Review Here.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi I read it with interest when it was published.



The Title List


Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Continental Divide by Alex Myers

Normal People: A Novel  by Sally Rooney

Two Weeks in November by Douglas Rogers

Sula: A Novel by Toni Morrison

Meadowlark: A Novel by Melanie Abrams

All the Light We Cannot See by  Anthony Doerr

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Campus Diversity: The Hidden Consensus by John M. Carey , Katherine Clayton, and Yusaku Horiuchi 

How to Be An Antiracist by Ibraham X. Kindi

This is How You Lose The Time Warby Amal El-Mohtar,  and Max Gladstone

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt 

Disappearing Earth: A Novel by Julia Phillips

How to Be Both by Ali Smith

The Travelers: A Novel by Regina Porter

Papillon by Henri Charriere

If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Becoming Mrs. Burton by Susan Burton

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip

Have you read any of these? Leave a comment or a link to your review. Does your college, or the college your child or spouse of whoever attends, require a Freshman summer read? Leave me a comment with the college name and the book title and I’ll make sure it gets in my big list post!




6 thoughts on “Berkeley’s Summer Reading for Freshmen

  1. I’ve read a few of these. Becoming by Michelle Obama is the outstanding title – inspirational and thought-provoking.
    Reading Lolita in Tehran was interesting but only up to a point. I got frustrated because it seemed the author wasn’t clear whether she wanted to write about her experience with female students or about the novels they read.
    I’m reading Normal People at the moment – really don’t get why it has been so highly rated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m watching the TV series of this book and I’m finding the main characters inconsistent. First I liked one and not the other, now that they’re at university, I like the other a bit better and not the first one!


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