Books are powerful. They can help us learn, stimulate our imaginations and give us thought-provoking ideas about real life. And sometimes, they can even help us prepare for future life experiences…like college!
Think about it: college is an opportunity to learn about yourself and the world. What better time is there to pick up a few books and expand your horizons than before you go off to school?
Whether you’re an English major, a chemist or a graphic designer, you can almost always find value in a great piece of literature. Start with these five books every future college student should read.
“This Side of Paradise” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“This Side of Paradise” was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, published in 1920. It tells the story of a young man who attends Princeton University before World War I. However, after graduation, the future he believed was bright and promising turns out quite differently than anticipated. The story might initially sound like a bit of a downer to start off with, but it offers plenty of insights about the realities of life and growing up.
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry
What better book to read before college than one about embracing your individuality?
“The Giver” is a 1993 young adult novel set in a futuristic dystopian backdrop, where all the people have been stripped of their individuality in favor of “Sameness.” When a young boy named Jonas is chosen to receive the memories of human life before “Sameness,” he starts to realize there’s much more to life than he ever imagined.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
If you didn’t have a chance to read this 1960 novel in high school, we recommend checking out “To Kill a Mockingbird”. This is one of the most widely read books about racial inequality in American society, and it follows the story of a little girl as she grows up and learns about some of life’s harsh realities. Although the story contains darker themes about race, rape, violence and the unfairness of life, it also offers beautiful messages about courage and kindness.
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway
“A Farewell to Arms,” published in 1929, is considered to be one of the greatest literary works by Ernest Hemingway. As a result, it’s probably worth a read either before or during your college years.
This novel follows the story of an American man serving in the Italian army who falls in love with an English nurse. The book depicts romance, tragedy and war in true Hemingway fashion. Apparently, he rewrote the story 39 times and wrote 47 different endings before he was satisfied. Talk about a nightmare.
“1984” by George Orwell
Even if you’ve never read “1984,” chances are you’ve heard of it. Published in 1949, this dystopian novel depicts an imaginary future in 1984, in which humanity has fallen to complete government control and oppression. It follows protagonist Winston Smith, who works at the Ministry of Truth rewriting versions of history. It’s a terrifying but still-relevant look at the dangers of giving too much power to a government. Every student today should pick up a copy of this novel from their library.
Consider checking out these titles before you dive into college. The wider reading experiences may prepare you for your next English or Literature class — but more importantly, these books could help expand your creativity or even inspire a greater love of reading. So hit the books and see what new worlds you can discover.
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