As college students, we all have plenty of reading and schoolwork to do. But sometimes you need to relax with a good book that you don’t have to pick apart and write seven-page papers about. You might not have time to go browsing at a bookstore, so you should know about the essentials. Below is a list of five books that every college student should read at some point in their educational career.
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This has been in the news a lot recently, as the film adaptation starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman was just released a couple months ago. But this book, written in 1999, is a great coming of age tale. It follows Charlie, a shy, troubled boy, as he attempts to make his way through his first year of high school. It’s a poignant book and a modern-day classic. If you missed reading it when you were younger, definitely take the time to read it now.
2. 1984 by George Orwell
This classic novel is about a dystopian society where the government monitors everything everyone does, thinks, and says. It raises some extremely pertinent and thought-provoking questions about the origin of free will and thought. The vicious Party members that make up the government strive to erase all originality from the world as it exists in the novel. Get comfy, and then get lost in the world of 1984.
3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
This nonfiction book details the “last lecture” of college professor Randy Pausch, who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer at age 46. He teaches about living life to the fullest, being happy, and being the best you can be each and every day. Pausch wanted to get his message- of achieving dreams, cherishing family and friends, and remaining positive- out to impact as many people as he could before his death. It’s an inspiring read for those times when you feel like nothing is going your way.
4. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Touching on subjects such as racial equality, gender stereotypes, and the relationship between mothers and daughters, this book is a heartfelt, emotionally charged look at South Carolina in the 1960’s. The story follows Lily, a 14-year-old girl, who escapes the control of her abusive father with her maid, who’s a target of racial discrimination. They end up at the Pepto-Bismol pink home of three bee-keeping sisters who head their own unique religious movement. Together, they teach Lily the real meaning of family.
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This book has been heralded as the classic poster child for teenage angst. The novel shows the progress of the troubled protagonist, Holden Caulfield, over the course of two days. During these two days, he manages to get expelled from his posh private school and ends up having a breakdown during his couple-day stint in New York City. He struggles with his identity, the meaning of adulthood, and his sexuality.
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