You Recommend Freshmen 'Common Reads'

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Apple and Books
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In recent years, a growing number of colleges and universities have begun assigning "common reads" — books that all incoming freshmen must read over the summer and prepare to discuss in their first week on campus.

In the past weeks, Talk of the Nation has featured several of this year's popular freshmen reads, including The Other Wes Moore, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Guns, Germs and Steel.

We also asked for the books you think should be required reading for all college freshmen. You wrote back with more than 70 suggestions for books about the environment, war and peace, religion, race in America and more. Below are 10 of your recommendations.

One Bullet Away

One Bullet Away

The Making of a Marine Officer

by Nathaniel Fick

Paperback, 369 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $14.95, published September 7 2006 | purchase

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Title
One Bullet Away
Subtitle
The Making of a Marine Officer
Author
Nathaniel Fick

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An ex-Marine captain shares his story of fighting in a recon battalion in both Afghanistan and Iraq, beginning with his brutal training at Quantico, Va., and, ultimately, fighting in the deadliest conflicts since the Vietnam War.

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The Canon

The Canon

A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

by Natalie Angier

Hardcover, 293 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, published May 8 2007 | purchase

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Title
The Canon
Subtitle
A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
Author
Natalie Angier

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Science journalist Natalie Angier draws on interviews with hundreds of the world's top scientists to offer an entertaining guide to scientific literacy, exploring the fundamental principles of the major scientific disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, geology and astronomy and their link to the world around us.

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The Violence of Peace

The Violence Of Peace

America's Wars in the Age of Obama

by Stephen L. Carter

Hardcover, 255 pages, Perseus Books Group, $24.99, published January 11 2011 | purchase

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Title
The Violence of Peace
Subtitle
America's Wars in the Age of Obama
Author
Stephen L. Carter

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Presents an analysis of Barack Obama's views on war and the military in the first two years of his presidency, discussing his evolution from being a peace candidate to being a president conducting two wars and how this change affects national security and the nation's future.

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The Social Animal

The Social Animal

The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

by David Brooks

Hardcover, 424 pages, Random House Inc, $27, published March 8 2011 | purchase

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Title
The Social Animal
Subtitle
The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
Author
David Brooks

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David Brooks views current research from a variety of disciplines by following the lives and unconscious motivations of a hypothetical American couple as they grow, meet and change throughout their lives.

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Griftopia

Griftopia

Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

by Matt Taibbi

Hardcover, 252 pages, Random House Inc, $26, published November 2 2010 | purchase

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Title
Griftopia
Subtitle
Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
Author
Matt Taibbi

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The best-selling author of The Great Derangement examines American financial, political and media power and argues that the dramatic series of events that led to the financial crisis also resulted in a complete shift of power to the self-interested elite.

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I Am Charlotte Simmons

I Am Charlotte Simmons

by Tom Wolfe

Hardcover, 676 pages, Farrar Straus & Giroux, $28.95, published November 9 2004 | purchase

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Title
I Am Charlotte Simmons
Author
Tom Wolfe

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With characteristic detail and aplomb Wolfe offers a portrait of modern college life through the story of the innocent but intelligent Charlotte Simmons and her times and travails in the halls and dorms of Dupont University.

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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

Hardcover, 233 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, published March 22 2010 | purchase

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Title
The Things They Carried
Author
Tim O'Brien

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An anniversary edition of a collection of interconnected fictional stories follows the members of an American platoon fighting in the Vietnam War, in a book that mirrors the author's own wartime experiences.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

Paperback, 226 pages, Random House Inc, $14.95, published May 18 2004 | purchase

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author
Mark Haddon

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Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically gifted, autistic boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secrets about his mother.

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An Ordinary Man

An Ordinary Man

An Autobiography

by Paul Rusesabagina

Hardcover, 207 pages, Penguin Group USA, $23.95, published April 6 2006 | purchase

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Title
An Ordinary Man
Subtitle
An Autobiography
Author
Paul Rusesabagina

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The author describes how he utilized his position as a hotel manager in violence-stricken Rwanda to offer shelter to more than twelve thousand members of the Tutsi clan and Hutu moderates, an act that inspired an Academy Award-nominated film.

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The Republic

The Republic

by Plato, Desmond Lee and Henry Desmond Pritchard Lee

Paperback, 416 pages, Penguin Group USA, $10, published March 1 2003 | purchase

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Title
The Republic
Author
Plato, Desmond Lee, et al

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A model for the ideal state includes discussion of the nature and application of justice, the role of the philosopher in society, the goals of education, and the effects of art upon character.

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