20 books on college summer reading lists across the US

Get the Full StoryThe Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Many colleges develop summer reading programs with one or more books for the campus community or their incoming freshmen. These books, chosen by a panel of professors, students, or administrators, are meant to be the common point of reference used to spark discussion and conversation among members of campus.

A freshman taking her first step into the imposing halls of higher education and the intimidating, anonymous crowds of fellow students can take solace in knowing that she has at least one conversation starter up her sleeve. In a school where people from all walks of life are studying different fields and engaged in different interests, a book can be the bridge to understanding these differences or pushing against assumptions.

The books that colleges have chosen this year tell the stories of growing up as an immigrant, a broken justice system, the plight of poverty, and race in America. They also expose us to hidden struggles and triumphs, the secret to leading a happy life, and the significance of trash.

You don't need to be a college student to enjoy, ponder, question, or debate the ideas of these 20 books.

Captions provided by Amazon Editorial Reviews. "Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of a Global Citizen" by Firoozeh Dumas


Texas Christian University

In this series of poignant, insightful, and often hilarious anecdotes, Dumas explores the unique challenges and rewards of blending many cultures together as an Iranian American growing up in southern California, from the complexities of multi-family holidays, to the awkwardness of dating in college, to the joys of food.

Buy it here

"The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates" by Wes Moore


12 schools, including Albany State University, Florida A&M, and University of Massachusetts Amherst

Two boys with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two young men and the journey of a generation.

Buy it here

"Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson


50 schools, including Auburn, Duke, Northeastern, Ohio State, and UNC Chapel Hill

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice — from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

Buy it here

See the rest of the story at Business Insider