It’s just about that time of year when the peaches are juiciest, and when students remember how they’ve completely neglected their summer reading. Once the exclusive provenance of high school students, colleges have increasingly been asking incoming freshmen to have read the same book before they show up for orientation. Below, the tomes being toted around by future freshmen at Baltimore area universities and colleges:

Johns Hopkins –  Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
Kidder’s great at telling stories of global strife and public health emergencies — and then somehow winding up with a semi-optimistic conclusion. As the school tells its incoming students, “You are about to embark on a wonderful journey not only at Johns Hopkins University but in the city of Baltimore. It is our hope you will make every effort to become an active member of both of these communities.” A sign of the university’s attempts to pop the infamous “Hopkins bubble”?

St. Johns (Annapolis) – The Iliad, by Homer
This is a school that likes to start at the beginning — they teach math by reading Archimedes. So this pick is pretty obvious. Come on, St. Johns, shake things up!

Goucher – The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore
A surprise bestseller set in Baltimore:  “The Other Wes Moore is the story of two kids with the same name, both liv­ing in Baltimore. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, dec­o­rated com­bat vet­eran, White House Fel­low, and busi­ness leader. The other is serv­ing a life sen­tence in prison for felony mur­der.”

UMBC – Outcasts United, Warren St. John
Another tale of hardship with a heartwarming ending – this time, it’s a soccer team of UNHCR refugees in a small town outside Atlanta. Per the book selection committee, “[the story] supports the value of both education and recreational sports.”