Freshman are pouring into colleges and universities around the U.S. right now. Excited, nervous and feeling very grown up, they are attending their first lectures uncertain of what to expect. One thing they can expect is to be ready to discuss their required summer reading. Highlighting the trend, NPR reported that one of the more popular books this year is Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Society. NPR:
"In it, Diamond explores why some civilizations became more economically and politically dominant than others. He rejects the idea that racial superiority or intellectual ability enabled the West to triumph over other civilizations. Instead, Diamond argues that the hegemony of the West can be attributed to the confluence of certain geographic and environmental factors."
I have to admit that I have only seen the PBS television series hosted by the book's author, Jared Diamond. But, it is utterly fascinating and I would highly recommend it! Other schools' lists include American classics such as, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Frankenstein, while others choose a cultural theme to explore such as, racism or environmentalism. You may be thinking, "I don't know English, so how can I read one of these?" and I don't blame you! These books are not exactly light reads. So what can you do with this information...
- If you're proficient in English, read the book
- Find the book in your language
- Read about the book and find out: why was it written...what are the book's major themes...how did it influence culture then and now...etc.
- Just know it exists!
- "This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women,” by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
- “Enrique’s Journey,” by Sonia Nazario
- “Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference,” by Warren St. John
- "Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession", by Francesco Duina
- "The Glass Castle", by Jeannette Walls
- "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", by Rebecca Skloot
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