- Stanford administrators have the “Three Books” program each summer.
- It includes three suggested books to read over the summer to think about complex issues.
- The book suggestions are for new students and the larger Stanford community overall.
Fresh off the excitement of gaining acceptance into the most competitive university in America, Stanford University incoming freshmen will likely want to take the summer to relax a bit.
Administrators at Stanford want them to continue thinking critically about complex issues, and release The Three Books program every summer to suggest books that the entire community should read and discuss.
“The Three Books program is designed to introduce you to the experience of reading, thinking, and talking about challenging subjects as a member of Stanford’s intellectual community,” professor Noah Diffenbaugh wrote to the class of 2021.
Diffenbaugh, the faculty moderator of the program and a professor of earth system science, said this year’s theme was on sustainability and equity.
“All three of these books have had a deep impact on me and my thinking,” he wrote. “And, just as each of these books offers a sense of hope and optimism amid extremely challenging circumstances, I am optimistic that in discussing these challenges we can help each other find a sense of hope for the future!” he continued.
Read on to see the three books Stanford wants incoming freshmen to read this summer.
‘Homegoing,’ by Yaa Gyasi
“Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed – and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.”
‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,’ by Elizabeth Kolbert
- The Sixth Extinction
“In The Sixth Extinction, Kolbert details the evidence that human activity is causing what scientists call the sixth mass extinction – the loss of as many as half of all living species on Earth. Kolbert traces the intellectual history of how scientists came to understand extinction and woke up to the impact we are having on the planet’s ecosystems.”
‘Salvage the Bones,’ by Jesmyn Ward
- Salvage the Bones
“In Salvage the Bones, Ward gives us the Batiste family: Esch, a pregnant fourteen-year-old, her teenage brothers, and their alcoholic father, who are watching Hurricane Katrina brew over the Gulf. Set in the twelve days immediately surrounding the arrival of the hurricane, Salvage the Bones is at its heart the story of four motherless children, trying to protect their home and one another against unimaginable disruption.”