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6 Books That Should Be Assigned For Freshman-Year Reading

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    Slant is a mobile-first news startup on a mission to empower people to publish professional-quality journalism and get paid for it. Slant is redefining what news means to you.
    aBy Nicole Horowitz

    North Carolina's Duke University made headlines not for its selection of Alison Bechdel’s auto-biographical graphic novel Fun Home as the Class of 2019’s assigned summer reading, but for a small group of student’s refusal to read the book on moral grounds.

    A group of students, led by Brian Grasso, took objection to the sexual content of the novel, highlighted by its illustrative medium. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of incoming Blue Devils saw the assignment of Bechdel’s book, which is highly acclaimed in print as well as a popular Broadway musical, as a cool move on the part of Duke’s administration. Yet, the ensuing discussion on students' rights to read or not to read books that offend them was respectful and the resulting discourse intriguing.

    If college is a time that is supposed to expand the horizons of the mind, can readership be demanded even when it comes to blows with morality? And if so, what other types of books could swathe young minds in the delicious controversy and discomfort brought upon by this intersection of Fun Home and Southern Christian values?

    Ahead, a list of books that all college freshman should be assigned to read, controversial or not.

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  2. Photo: Courtesy of Pantheon Books.


  3. Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic.


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  5. Photo: Courtesy of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.


  6. Photo: Courtesy of Propyläen Verlag.