New Common Reading Titles from Penguin Random House

By Allan Spencer | March 11 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. 

Poverty, by America

Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction •  In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. He calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.


A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A brilliant, action-packed reimagining of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both harrowing and darkly humorous, told from the enslaved Jim's point of view • From the “literary icon” (Oprah Daily) and Pulitzer Prize Finalist whose novel Erasure is the basis for Cord Jefferson’s critically acclaimed film American Fiction"Genius"—The Atlantic • "A masterpiece that will help redefine one of the classics of American literature, while also being a major achievement on its own."—Chicago Tribune • "A provocative, enlightening literary work of art."—The Boston Globe • "Everett’s most thrilling novel, but also his most soulful."—The New York Times"If you liked Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver, read James, by Percival Everett" —The Washington Post

Catastrophe Ethics
How to Choose Well in a World of Tough Choices
A warm, personal guide to building a strong ethical and moral compass in the midst of today's confusing, scary, global problems.

Woman, Life, Freedom
An urgent, groundbreaking and visually stunning new collection of graphic story-telling about the present Iranian revolution, using comics to show what would be censored in photos and film in Iran.Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, returns to graphic art with this collaboration of over 20 activists, artists, journalists, and academics working together to depict the historic uprising, in solidarity with the Iranian people and in defense of feminism.*"A stirring call for change that reminds readers 'the art of rebellion is an everyday battle.'” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Moth Presents: A Point of Beauty
True Stories of Holding On and Letting Go

An inspiring and entertaining collection of unforgettable true stories about finding unexpected beauty in life’s transitions—from Elizabeth Gilbert, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and many more.


The Biology of Kindness
Six Daily Choices for Health, Well-Being, and Longevity
How kindness—and other prosocial behaviors toward others—can help us live longer and healthier lives.

Unlearning Silence
How to Speak Your Mind, Unleash Talent, and Live More Fully
NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Unlearning Silence is the book I wish I had when I started my career….This book is going to change the workplace for the better."—Pooja Lakshmin MD, psychiatrist & best-selling author of Real Self-Care“A necessary read…Unlearning Silence offers an opportunity and tools to change things within and around us – for ourselves and those we love.” —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to SomeoneA paradigm-shifting book looking at the pervasive influence of silence and how we can begin to dismantle it in order to find our voices at home and at work

A Novel
MOST ANTICIPATED: WASHINGTON POST, TIME, & MORE • There’s a fine line between bending the truth and telling bold-faced lies, and Javier Perez is willing to cross it. Victim is a fearless satire about a hustler from the Bronx who sees through the veneer of diversity initiatives and decides to cash in on the odd currency of identity."A crowning achievement." —New York Times Book Review  • "You will burn through Victim and find your hands scalded when you are done…Pitch perfect." —Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming