Random House, Inc. publishes a broad selection of fiction and non-fiction books appropriate for first-year and Freshman Reading programs. The books suggested here should help initiate reflection and discussion among your incoming first-year students, who will begin their academic lives with a shared experience. They'll be prepared to discuss the stories of others and, thus, ready to share their own.
Many authors featured below are available to visit college campuses as part of a first-year program. Please email us for further information.
To order examination copies of any of these titles, please follow the instructions on our Examination Copy page.
The Warmth of Other Suns
The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Written by Isabel Wilkerson
Trade Paperback, 640 pages
October 4, 2011
Now in Paperback
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Selected by Howard University and Grand Valley State University
"A landmark piece of nonfiction. . . . [Wilkerson's] closeness with, and profound affection for, her subjects reflect her deep immersion in their stories and allow the reader to share that connection."
Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Profound, necessary and an absolute delight to read."
Toni Morrison, author of Beloved
and A Mercy
"[A] deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book. . . . Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century . . . and told it through the lives of three people no one has ever heard of. . . . This is narrative nonfiction, lyrical and tragic and fatalist." —Jill Lepore
, The New Yorker
Power of Habit
Why we Do What We Do in Life and Business
Written by Charles Duhigg
Hardcover, 400 pages
February 28, 2012
Selected for Common Reading by Babson College
Humans' most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making but outgrowths of habits. A habit is a simple neurological loop: there is a cue, a routine, and a reward. Tweaking even one habit, as long as it is the right one, can have staggering effects. In The Power of Habit
, award–winning New York Times
business reporter Charles Duhigg combines in-depth research with beautifully told, fascinating narratives from companies and individuals that point out the world we all inhabit but often never notice.
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
Written by Karen Armstrong
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
December 27, 2011
Now in Paperback
"Rich with wisdom and provocative ideas that stimulate deeper thinking. . . . Chock full of practical ideas for examining one's life and modifying aims and behaviors. . . . What Armstrong's clear and concise little book offers [readers] is threefold: a greater appreciation of how widespread compassion is as an ideal, a spur to deeper reexamination of aspects of their own experience, and an impetus to define and act upon a fresh contribution . . . to the restoration of compassion in community life." —Jane Lampman, The Christian Science Monitor
"Leaning on the wisdom of disparate faiths and belief systems, Armstrong lays out a pluralistic and, ultimately, secular way to spread compassion that's easy to believe in." —The Washington Post
In the Garden of Beasts
Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Written by Erik Larson
Hardcover, 464 pages
May 10, 2011
From the acclaimed author of The Devil in the White City
, here is a riveting, true story about the American Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, and his family at the time of Hitler's rise to power.
"Larson captivated our community when he came here to speak about [The Devil in the White City
], the creative process, and how to weave history and fiction into one brilliant and bone-chilling masterpiece. He answered the many questions our students had about his work, and provided them with valuable and insightful information into the writing process." —Sanford J. Ungar, President, Goucher College