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Books Connect Incoming Students with Top Faculty

The day before classes start, 52 of UT Austin’s finest faculty will volunteer their time to lead cozy book discussions for first-year students. The Freshman Reading Round-Up, now in its ninth year, asks faculty to suggest a favorite summer read that can open young minds to new ideas or new ways of thinking. Students choose a book online, read it over the summer, then meet in small book clubs with the professor who suggested the book and a few other like-minded students. The program helps get students off to a good start in the academic world of UT. The event is entirely voluntary: no grades are awarded. The idea is to take the pressure off of students nervous about taking their first college-level courses. And the discussions bring bright, engaged students together, and does so around something we all care about—books.

Book List

This year’s list includes titles from faculty all over campus. Some are old favorites: Dr. Barchas, from the English Department, agreed to lead her very popular session on Emma again this year, and Dr. Murphy from Advertising leads a discussion on Jon Steel’s Perfect Pitch. Other professors chose books outside their disciplines but still related to fields of research. Dr. Duke, from the School of Music, chose Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman. Dr. Winslade of the Law School will lead a more serious talk on Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Here are a few more examples of the books featured this year. Explore all of the books with their descriptions here.

A Technique for Producing Ideas
by James Webb Young
Brad Love

Change Your Life Through Travel
by Jillian Robinson
James Patton

Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman
Paul Sullivan

Oedipus Rex
by Sophocles
William Powers
Office of the President

by Kurt Vonnegut
Rob Owen

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Mary Steinhardt
Kinesiology and Health Education

by Aristophanes
Thomas Pangle