New First-Year Reading Titles from Penguin Random House

By Allan Spencer | February 12 2024 | College & University Reads

Browse these new and notable titles for use in your First-Year and Common Reading program. To request complimentary exam copies for course-use consideration, click here. 

How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit, an investigation of what makes conversations work, and how we can all learn to be supercommunicators at work and in our lives.

A Spell of Good Things
A novel
GMA BUZZ PICK • A dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession, and political corruption from the celebrated author of Stay with Me, “in the lineage of great works by Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie” (The New York Times).

The Climate Book
The Facts and the Solutions
The instant NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, now updated for 2024
We still have time to change the world. From Greta Thunberg, the world’s leading climate activist, comes the essential handbook for making it happen.

Coming Out as Dalit
A Memoir of Surviving India's Caste System (Updated Edition)

Born into a “formerly untouchable manual-scavenging family in small-town India,” Yashica Dutt was taught from a young age to not appear “Dalit looking.” Although prejudice against Dalits, who compose 25% of the population, has been illegal since 1950, caste-ism in India is alive and well. Blending her personal history with extensive research and reporting, Dutt provides an incriminating analysis of caste’s influence in India over everything from entertainment to judicial systems and how this discrimination has carried over to US institutions.


Wandering Stars
A novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–finalist and author of the breakout bestseller There There (“Pure soaring beauty,” The New York Times Book Review) delivers a masterful follow-up to his already classic first novel. Extending his constellation of narratives into the past and future, Tommy Orange traces the legacies of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School through three generations of a family in a story that is by turns shattering and wondrous.
“For the sake of knowing, of understanding, Wandering Stars blew my heart into a thousand pieces and put it all back together again. This is a masterwork that will not be forgotten, a masterwork that will forever be part of you.”—Morgan Talty, bestselling author of Night of the Living Rez

Hijab Butch Blues
A Memoir
A queer hijabi Muslim immigrant survives her coming-of-age by drawing strength and hope from stories in the Quran in this “raw and relatable memoir that challenges societal norms and expectations” (Linah Mohammad, NPR).

Stranger in the Desert
A Family Story
Inspired by family lore, a young writer embarks on an epic quest through the Argentine Andes in search of a heritage spanning hemispheres and centuries, from the Jewish Levant to turn-of-the-century trade routes in South America.

Take What You Need
A Novel
A New York Times Editor’s Choice, Named One of the Best Fiction for Spring 2023 by The Wall Street Journal, Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by Oprah Daily, Vulture,, Elle, and Lit Hub.
“A heart-rending book, but also a beautiful celebration of ‘the glorious pleasure of erecting something new,’ be it a work of art or a human connection.”—The Wall Street Journal
From “one of the finest and bravest novelists at work today,” (Vulture) award-winning writer Idra Novey has conjured a novel of “astonishing and singular” honesty (Rumaan Alam) with two determined, unforgettable female voices.