Summer is usually the designated season for light, beachy reading. But if you’d rather crack open a book with a little heft during the warm months, check out this list. These are books that Carolinas colleges are assigning to incoming first-year students as summer reads:
Appalachian State University: “Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer,” by Novella Carpenter. She recounts her experience farming in Oakland, Calif., in this book about food and community.
Belmont Abbey College: “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” by Walter M. Miller Jr. This post-apocalyptic novel won the 1961 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel.
Catawba College: “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right,” by Atul Gawande. Stories of how an ordinary checklist can be a lifesaver in a complex world.
Davidson College: “Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey,” by G.B. Tran. In this graphic memoir, Tran explores his family’s history as immigrants who fled Saigon and raised him in South Carolina.
Duke University: “State of Wonder,” by Ann Patchett. This novel, part scientific thriller, part personal odyssey, follows a pharmacologist whose work takes her to a Brazilian jungle.
East Carolina University: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot. A nonfiction account of how the cells of a tobacco farmer, taken without her knowledge, became one of medicine’s most important tools.
N.C. State University: “It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace,” by Charlotte’s Rye Barcott. As a UNC Chapel Hill student, Barcott spent a summer in Kibera, a mega-slum in Kenya, then created a nonprofit called Carolina for Kibera. In this memoir, he tells how he launched and led the organization while serving as a Marine.
Queens University of Charlotte: “In the Time of the Butterflies,” by Julia Alvarez. This novel is based on the true story of the Mirabal sisters and their opposition to the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.
UNC Chapel Hill: “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” by Nicholas Carr. This Pulitzer Prize finalist describes how technology, particularly the Internet, has shaped the way we think.
UNC Charlotte: “Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team and One Woman’s Quest to Make A Difference,” by Warren St. John. The story of woman who forms a soccer team to unify refugee children in Clarkston, Ga.
University of South Carolina: “Motherless Brooklyn,” by John Lethem. An homage to the classic detective novel.
Winthrop University: “Where Am I Wearing?” by Kelsey Timmerman. The author asks a simple question: “Who makes my clothes?” The answer takes him to China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Honduras and New York.