Welcome, fellow readers! Whether you are an incoming freshman at UC Berkeley, a member of the Cal community, or an avid reader who chanced upon this page, we’re glad you’ve found your way to the archive for the annual UC Berkeley Summer Reading List for Freshmen.

For three decades now, we’ve asked folks here on campus to give us their best reading recommendations focused on a particular theme each year, and then we’ve passed that list on to the incoming undergraduate class as an early welcome to the intellectual life of the university. Nothing is required here of you incoming freshmen; these are simply lists of great reads to share and return to as the spirit moves you.

The lists—much like the UC Berkeley community—are eclectic and interesting. We hope you’ll find one, or many, readings that appeal to you.

The theme for Summer 2014 is “Free Speech,” to honor the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement on campus.

Previous lists:

2013 What Would Seniors Read?

2012 Revolutions

2011 Social Media

2010 Education Matters

2009 Best Books About Science

2008 Bio-Graphy: Writing a Life

2007 Survival

2006 Books for Future Presidents

2005 Great Discoveries, Voyages, and Adventures!

2004 Now That's Funny

2003 War & Peace


2002 Banned Books

2001 Favorite Book when I was 18

2000 Great books written by Berkeley faculty

1999 Selected by faculty involved in residence hall activities

1997 Selected by Freshman & Sophomore Seminar students

1995 Selected by faculty and staff who teach freshman seminars

1991 Selected by American Cultures' Fellows and staff

1990 Selected by Berkeley librarians

1989 Selected by the chairs of various departments

1988 Selected by faculty who teach introductory courses

1985 Selected by Distinguished Teaching Award recipients

If you have a suggestion for a future theme email or .

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Last updated 10/4/2013.
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