What the Covid Freshman Class Read This Summer

Most years I track the books assigned by a college or university for reading by all entering Freshmen. The former years’ posts are linked at the bottom of this post. Below is what the Covid Freshman were assigned to read this summer. The ever-predictable liberal political slant is still present. I’m a moderate to liberal person but I hate that. College is supposed to teach you to think for yourself–not impose a worldview on you.

I’ve read three from this list–my reviews are also linked at the bottom of the post. This year two books stood out–Educated: A Memoir and What the Eyes Don’t See. I’ve read, but did not review Educated. I’ve read so much about cultish religion it didn’t shock me at all. I was very proud of her her persistence though.

Past years have seen Just Mercy at the top of the list, but now that it is a movie it has fallen in popularity as  a “One Read” book.


Freshman Summer Reading Class of 2024    
Title  Author University
Know My Name Chanel Miller Duke
Make Your Home Among Strangers  Jennine Capó Crucet Lehigh
My Own Country  Abraham Verghese WV School of Osteopathic Medicine
Crazy Brave Joy Harjo Connecticut College
What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis… Mona Hanna-Attisha Bucknell
Sweat [play] Lynn Nottage College of New Jersey
This America: The Case for the Nation Jill Lepore Princeton
No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference Greta Thunberg Hofstra
Exit West  Mohsin Hamid Ramapo/NJ
Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections  Joshua A Douglas Marist
Biased  Jennifer Eberhardt Elon 
The Person You Mean To Be  Dolly Chug Vanderbilt
Rising Elizabeth Rush Applachian State 
Educated Tara Westover Smith 
Grit Angela Duckworth Seton Hall
Educated Tara Westover Meredith College
Line Becomes A River Francisco Cantú College of Charleston
The Ghost Map Steven Johnson Baylor (Honors Program)
Subject to Change  H. Melt Williams College
Born A Crime Trevor Noah University of Denver
American Like Me America Ferrera Texas State
What the Eyes Don’t See Mona Hanna-Attisha Illinois Wesleyan
Dream Land Sam Quinones Otterbein 
What the Eyes Don’t See Mona Hanna-Attisha Bucknell
What the Eyes Don’t See Mona Hanna-Attisha San Jose State
Mom’s Cancer Brian Fies Gustavus Adolphus
Full Body Burden Kristen Iversen  Michgan (Engineering)
The Stranger in the Woods Michael Finkle Michigan Tech
Barking to the Choir Greg Boyle Scranton
Educated Tara Westover Providence
Educated Tara Westover Siena
Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson Northwestern
View From the Top Michael Lindsay Harding 
Clade James Bradley Oregon
One Person, One Vote Carl Anderson Virginia Commonwealth
Dear America Notes of an Undocumented… Jose Antonio Vargas University of Delaware
The Girl Who Smiled Beads Clemantine Wamariya West Virginia U [Honors College]
Yellow House Sarah Broom Tulane

My Review of the 2020 Books I’ve Read


The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson



Dream Land: The True Tale of America’s Opioid Epidemic by Sam Quinones


Line Becomes River: Dispatches From the Boarder by Fransisco Cantu


The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom


Past Lists

Just Berkeley’s 2020 List

2019–no list

2018 the Class of 2022

2017 the Class of 2021

2016 the Class of 2020

Can you add to this list? Did you have to read something before entering as a Freshman? I didn’t back in the summer of 1980. Leave me a comment or link to your own post.

10 thoughts on “What the Covid Freshman Class Read This Summer

  1. What a fun activity! I’m all about book lists, so I’d really enjoy pulling something like this together.

    We weren’t required to read a book before entering undergrad (The University of Texas at Austin), but I was required to read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down before entering grad school (Boston University). I really enjoyed it, but I have a hard time reading things when it’s “required reading.” Needless to say, I am NOT a good student!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a curse! Are you familiar with Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies? I think I’m a rebel, which fits in perfectly with not wanting to read anything assigned to me, even if I DO actually want to read it!

        Good luck with school this year!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So interesting to see! My son is starting college (next week!), but didn’t have a reading assignment. I don’t remember having a pre-college reading list either. Of all of these, I’ve only read Educated, but I think it’s pretty cool that one college has Trevor Noah’s book as the assigned reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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