Princeton Pre-Read

Princeton Pre-Read

The Princeton Pre-read Tradition

The Pre-read program, initiated by President Christopher L. Eisgruber in 2013, introduces incoming freshmen to Princeton’s intellectual life.

Members of the incoming class join together to read and discuss a book that President Eisgruber selects and sends to freshmen prior to their arrival on campus. Freshmen then participate in Pre-read discussions with student leaders during Orientation Week and with President Eisgruber over the course of the academic year. Other University community members also are encouraged to read and discuss the Pre-read selection.

Class of 2026 Selection: Every Day the River Changes

President Eisgruber’s Princeton Pre-read selection for the Class of 2026 is Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena by Jordan Salama, a graduate of Princeton’s Class of 2019.

The book is based on Salama’s senior thesis, in which he recounts his experiences as he traveled along the Magdalenda River in Colombia while he was an undergraduate. Salama describes the people he met and the cultures he encountered during his travels with a distinctive warmth and empathy.  President Eisgruber hopes that Every Day the River Changes will inspire students “to think imaginatively and creatively about what you might do with your time at Princeton.”

Copies of Every Day the River Changes will be available to community members with distribution beginning over the summer. For more information, please contact Tessa Yelenik in the Office of Finance and Treasury at 609-258-2755 or [email protected].

Learn more about Every Day the River Changes


“Superb in its evocation of place and time, Every Day the River Changes deserves the widest possible audience. Salama’s is a triumph of travel literature . . . Clear-eyed yet open-hearted, journalistic but deeply humane, it is a clarifying window into a misunderstood culture . . . A privilege to read.” — Bill Thompson, The Post and Courier

“From a canoe builder to a gaggle of biologists who study invasive hippopotamuses, as well as a traveling librarian and more, Salama transports you to this part of the world through new, fresh and beautiful narratives far from the negative connotations often associated with it.” — Breanna Wilson, Forbes

“The book is more than a notable achievement in travel literature and more than a clarifying window into a misunderstood culture; it is a book of conscience and open-heartedness . . . It is a privilege to savor, if vicariously, this harvest of a promising writer’s vivid journeys.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A mesmerizing travelogue . . . Both complex and achingly beautiful, this outstanding account brims with humanity.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Previous Pre-Read Selections

Class of 2017: The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Class of 2018: Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf

Class of 2019: Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele

Class of 2020: Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen

Class of 2021: What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller

Class of 2022: Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith Whittington

Class of 2023: Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy by James Williams

Class of 2024: This America by Jill Lepore

Class of 2025: Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility by Jennifer Morton

Book Cover - Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena by Jordan Salama