The purpose of the Freshman Reading Program is to prepare students to engage in
independent reading as they develop a “life of the mind”. This reading is not related
to any particular program of study. Nominations for the Freshman Reading can come
from any member of the Paine College community (faculty, staff, students, alumni,
friends of the college).
A committee of students from the previous freshman class
will identify the selected freshman reading by the last week of March.
All new students should purchase and read the Selected Freshman Reading and come to campus prepared to discuss the book as a part of formal and informal learning sessions. Other books
that were nominated should be considered as a part of the reading that should be done as students engage in their undergraduate education.
2012 Selected Freshman Reading
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of the Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
This semester, I was assigned to read The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of
the Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. I feel that this book should be selected
for the freshman reading for the class of 2012 because the book is relatable and
it is very informational. The author really took her time to illustrate each character’s
story throughout the book. Some facts that were presented in the book really shocked
me. I feel that the freshman class could learn the same things I learned and may
take more out of the book than I did. Even if my book is not selected, I will still
do my best to encourage the new students or any student to read this novel because
it changed my life.
Ms. Jade Phelps
Freshman, Biology Major
The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler
The Working Poor is an insightful book that gives real life examples of
those who not only live in poverty, but those who suffer from everyday tragedies.
Shipler looks into the lives of the reader and shows how the decisions one makes in life affects everyone else around them. I believe that this book would not only
be a great book for incoming freshmen to read, but would be a great book for everyone.
Ms. Jordan Rutland
Freshman, Biology Major
Living a Life that Matters by Harold S. Kushner
This is an inspirational book for everyone by Harold S. Kushner. Kushner writes
from his experiences and beliefs. In Living a Life that Matters, Kushner tells us
that as humans, we have two basic needs: the need to feel successful and important
and the need to think of ourselves as a good person. This is an amazing book that
helps one to define who they are, especially in times of transition or new experiences.
Ms. Fatima Ojedas Rojas
Business – MIS Major
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
If you think that the actions, thoughts, and decisions that you make every day are
controlled by your conscious mind- well, you are totally wrong. In Incognito: The
Secret Lives of the Brain, David Eagleman presents a concise and detailed summary,
using examples from experiments, of how the conscious mind is just the tip of the
iceberg of your brain. If you thought you knew your mind, prepare yourself because
this book is about to explore the mysteries of your mind and allow you to ‘perceive’
the true reality that is ‘out there’ whispering to your ear, a reality that is hidden
deep in your brain in a place we call- the unconscious.
Mr. Alberto Argumedo
Sophomore, Mathematics Major
An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks
There are many readings to choose from for the upcoming freshmen year at Paine College.
I highly recommend that the book titled "An Anthropologist on Mars" by Oliver Sacks
should be chosen for them. It is very descriptive, insightful, and mind boggling,
especially for people that are interested in various neurological conditions, such
as color blindness, autism, and amnesia. One of the most interesting things about
this book is that it can reveal to readers positive outlooks of disorders and show
how people with these disorders can make the best of their conditions. This concept
is similar to the saying that refers to seeing to cup as half full instead of half
empty. I believe this reading will impact and open the mind of many freshmen, not
only in neurology, but in life as a whole because it will more than likely change typical perspectives people have when they see or interact with people that have
disorders. This book will shed light on how these people with disorders will learn
to produce positive results in their lives, despite their condition.
Mr. Justin Savage
Sophomore, Biology Major
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
I would nominate The Complete Persepolis for the freshman reading because
I believe it is a book that students around their age can relate to. The story is
about a young girl describing her life throughout the war. She goes through many
changes as far as her location, internal changes, and her physical appearance. She
spends the time trying to come into her own and deal with all of life’s challenges.
This is the same things that college students, including incoming freshmen, are
dealing with. They are coming to college to get there life started and establish
their identity. They will go through many challenges, but at the end of the day
they will come into their own. I believe this book would be a great choice as a
sort of introduction into the college life.
Ms. Kayla Baugh
Sophomore, Early Childhood Education Major
Feynman’s Rainbow by Leonard Mlodinow
Throughout the book of Feynman’s Rainbow, a clear picture is formed of an inspiring physicists and his unlabeled mentor, Richard Feynman was a man who was located on
the same hall as both Richard Feynman and his rival Murray Gellman. These two scientific
geniuses had become the face of the Physics department at Caltech. In this first
person story, throughout the book, Mlodinow does a fantastic job of discussing the
beauty of his relationship with Richard Feynman and the journeys they go through.
The biggest point of the book that I would like the class to see is Feynman’s teaching
of self interest in the book. The final section of the book, discusses the beauty
Mr. Dalton Self
Sophomore, History Major
When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
When the Emperor was Divine is an epic, nonfiction story about the hardships
that Japanese-Americans had to endure after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which occurred
at the start of World War II. The author, Julie Otsuka, used her personal experiences
to show that being a Japanese-American during the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor
tragedy was no “cake-walk”. Throughout the course of the entire book, the author
never exposed who the characters were. However, she did show the situation through
their eyes. Overall, I feel that this is the best book that I have ever read. I
feel this way because it shed a new light on the effects of World War II. Otsuka’s
words have cut like a sword so that America’s open womb of narrow-mindedness could
be healed with a suture of unity and a bandage covering of peace among the races.
Ms. Naia Williams
Freshman, Biology Major
Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat
I recommend Brother, I’m Dying by EdwidgeDanticat for the Freshman Class
Reading. The novel was well written. It was detailed and descriptive. The storytelling
was so impressive that it painted a picture for me in my mind’s eye. I found the
novel to be entertaining. Edwidge is the main character in a the novel which is
mainly about her life. The novel depicts a cycle of life and death. Edwidge’s uncle
dies in the end. Then, her daughter is born. In turn, her father dies. Thus, the
cycle of life and death is illustrated. That is an important concept for the freshmen
to grasp, comprehend, and understand.
Ms. Sharifah Williams
Freshman, Philosophy Major
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
The novel, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, written by Karen Armstrong,
was written as a twelve step program to enhance ones being by transforming oneself
for the better and changing old habits. She describes compassion as the test of
true spirituality that brings us into relations with the transcendence of God. Her
objective was to bring forth the potentially existent compassion within ourselves.
Armstrong writes about ways an individual can find their compassionate side first,
and then exert such compassion into their everyday lives. Armstrong introduces common
religious philosophical traditions to allow the readers to become aware of the dynamics
of other faiths and reveal similarities between other cultures.
Ms. Jasmine Ford
Freshman, Chemistry Major