Graduating Seniors: What should freshmen read?

Dear Class of 2013,

Have a favorite book you think would be perfect for an incoming freshman? Then we want to hear from you by March 1.

If you think back to your freshman year at Cal, you may recall receiving a Summer Reading List for Freshmen with your CalSo packets. (Don’t recall getting one? You can see past lists at

Each year, we ask faculty and staff to come up with reading recommendations for freshmen centered around a particular theme. These aren’t required readings, but a list of books that faculty and staff think incoming freshmen would enjoy. We intend it as a kind of welcome to the intellectual and cultural life of the University.

This year, we’ve decided to turn to you, the graduating seniors of Spring and Fall 2013, for recommendations with our theme for this summer, “What Would Seniors Read?”

What book or other reading have you found to be a must-read? What do you wish you’d read sooner in your Cal career, or before you even arrived here? What reading totally altered your world view, inspired you, or perhaps gave you a welcome respite from your academic work at Cal? If you were guiding incoming freshmen around campus, what book would you press into their hands and say, “You have to read this. It’s fantastic.”

If you’ve got a recommendation, then please send it along to Michael Larkin of the College Writing Programs at by Friday, March 1.

As reflected at the bottom of this email, as part of your recommendation, we need the title, author, and a brief (about 100 words or so) summary and description of why you think your selection would make a great read for an incoming Cal freshman. And then a short bio that includes your name, major(s), and a sentence or so about yourself. Again, you can see the way recommendations from past lists have been formatted at

Here is a sample entry:

Your name: Alisa K

Your major: Media Studies

One sentence about you:

Currently working at Pixar and have interned at DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, and animation production studios during my time at UC Berkeley.

Title of book: “Stumbling on Happiness”

Author of book: Daniel Gilbert

Your commentary about the book :
If you like This American Life, RadioLab, or PopSci/CogSci PLEASE read this fantastic book. What makes human beings happy and why? Brandishing a humorist tone that sends readers into fits of giggles, Gilbert dives head first into the exceedingly rich world of human behavior and emotion. This book’s thesis stays with you for years to come and is the only book that does the “Happiness Conundrum” justice without becoming too popcorn science in the process. This book’s fascinating content on experiments, hilarious style, and a strong narrative structure results in a supremely interesting read for incoming students.

We look forward to receiving your recommendations by Friday, March 1.
Again, send to


Jennifer Dorner
Head of Instruction & User Services, Doe/Moffitt Libraries

Michael Larkin
Lecturer, College Writing Programs

“What Would Seniors Read?”

Your name:

Your major:

One sentence about you:

Title of book:

Author of book:

Your commentary about the book (around 100 words):