Six books every college student should read

Stimulate your mind with these thought-provoking novels.

The amount of books I have read this school year of my own choice is honestly sad. I used to pride myself on being both an avid reader and an avid television appreciator; now, I am just the latter. Despite my disappointment over the amount of books I have been able to consume, I do still read — most of it just happens to be over breaks. For those who face the issue of feeling ashamed over the limited amount of reading you’re able to do, the following is a small list of books worth making time for during the semester, or at least enjoying over summer break.

“A Little Life: A Novel” by Hanya Yanagihara

This book is big not only because it is over 700 pages, but also because it leaves an impact on the reader. It is shocking, tragic, gruesome and downright depressing, but it also tells a beautiful story of friendship and human endurance. In this novel, four college roommates — Jude, Willem, JB and Malcolm, each from vastly different backgrounds — form an enduring relationship that carries on into adulthood due to the mysterious physical and emotional pain that Jude carries every day as a result of his tragic childhood. You will not be able to put it down.

“Bossypants” by Tina Fey

Bossypants will have you peeing from laughter at 3 a.m.; I can testify. A great stress reducer for those days when you question if all of the work that goes into being a college student is worth it. Tina Fey’s book also informs readers that being called “bossy” is not a bad thing. Own it, ladies.

“The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories” by Marina Keegan

This collection of essays written by Marina Keegan, a Yale graduate who died in a car accident just days after graduation and before starting a job at The New Yorker, serves as a reminder to cherish every moment. Keegan’s essays explore the fear that all college students experience at some point or another: growing up and leaving the life you’ve made for yourself at college behind. You can read Keegan’s essay “The Opposite of Loneliness,” after which her book is titled, here.

“Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey is a collection of poems that leave their mark on your mind. Divided into four parts, the book takes readers through different experiences of life: hurting, loving, breaking and healing. This book is empowering, as it highlights the resilience and beauty of women. This is not Western society’s standards of beauty, but the beauty of the female body itself and the beauty that women find within themselves.

“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson

Lawyer Bryan Stevenson, said to be a modern-day Atticus Finch, details the beauty of mercy in his book. This novel shines a light on the inequalities seen within America’s justice system and how those who are often overlooked by society, such as minorities, need reform in terms of how they are treated in that justice system. Plus, Stevenson spoke at MU last year.

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

Return to your childhood with this classic story. Remind yourself of the gift of giving, the power of compassion and how the smallest act of kindness can make the biggest difference. Cliché but true, folks.

Edited by Katherine White |

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