Books That Every College Student Should Read

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Whether you’re a college freshman or a grad student, every year away at school is filled with new experiences, challenges and fun. While you might feel a bit overwhelmed with the course load and remain convinced that there are not enough hours in your day to do any “fun” reading, we beg to differ – there are a bunch of books out there that you aren’t required to read, but you should. Below are a few that you should stick on your nightstand and pull out on the next rainy day.

Freedom: A Novel

(Jonathan Franzen): Every find yourself in love with a friend who doesn’t feel the same as you or gives not wanting to ruin the friendship as a reason for not dating you? Of course you have – you’re in college. And this is a book you can totally relate to.

1984

(George Orwell): This book used to be required reading for pretty much every high school nationwide, but now it’s just a book that should be required reading for life. Unless you’re big into government conspiracies, in which case this book will only exacerbate your paranoia.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

(Jennifer Egan): Spanning several decades, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel devotes a series of short stories to a cast of characters who are all – both knowingly and unknowingly – connect to each other. You’re only regret in reading this book is that you don’t get to see how each person’s story ends.

The Art of Happiness

(The Dalai Lama): It can be easy to get caught up in the circumstances of your life and let those guide your internal state. This book points out how backwards that is – reading it now can teach you some valuable life skills that some people never learn.

Cherry

(Mary Karr): Before you decide to run your mouth about how “crazy” your teenage years are/were, check out this well-written, sharp, witty memoir. Chances are good that you’ll suddenly feel tame in comparison to Mary Karr’s experience.

This is How You Lose Her

(Junot Diaz): Love doesn’t always look the way you expect it to, but you should recognize it when it comes along or you could miss out. This novel weaves together a series of short stories that might make you rethink the fairytale narrative playing in your own mind.

Bad Feminist

(Roxane Gay): In a world that can often seem black and white, Roxane Gay reminds us that there are plenty of gray areas. Many of us are full of contradictions – and that can be ok.

The Other Wes Moore

(Wes Moore): Do you ever wonder how two people who grew up in similar environments get spun out onto such completely different life trajectories? Then this book about two kids with the same name, from the same block, who turned out radically different will blow your mind.

The Man Who Quit Money

(Mark Sundeen): Unless you’re a Kardashian, there’s no doubt you’ll find Daniel Suelo’s life to be fascinating and inspiring. And you’ll probably at least briefly consider getting rid of everything you own, packing a bag and hitting the road.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

(Maya Angelou): Next time you are going through a breakup, don’t get the internship you really want or can’t afford a cool Spring Break vacation, pick up this book to snap out of your self-pity. Not only will your life challenges (probably) pale in comparison to Maya Angelou’s, but her message of hope and self-love will remind you to pick yourself up, carry on and be your best self.

Hayden West

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