5 Books Every Incoming College Freshman Should Read

Posted January 21, 2015 by
Girl reads a book

Girl reads a book. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Are you headed off to school? Here are five books you should read before your first official class. For various reasons, they’re all life- and perspective-changing.

1. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Sharp, smart and hilariously funny, this book offers a layman’s journey through the origins of the universe. It touches on everything from astronomy to chemistry to paleontology, and not only will you finish it as a smarter person than when you began, but you might also find yourself signing up for electives that you never thought you’d want.

2. The Glass Castle: A Memoir Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is the true story of a young girl raised by brilliant but dysfunctional parents who kept her homeless even as they taught her about art, history and science. You’ll gain a much greater appreciation for your formalized education even as you’re inspired by her efforts to live a normal life.

3. You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

This book is subtitled “Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself,” which tells you everything you need to know about its contents. It will poke holes in everything you thought you understood about modern psychology, and what’s more, you’ll grin the entire time. Every teen should give this book a try.

4. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

When the semester gets overwhelming, this book will help you step back and count your blessings. It provides several different viewpoints of the harsh, poverty-stricken life that North Koreans accept as their due, and by the time you’re finished, you’ll realize that your tyrannical ethics professor doesn’t hold a candle to Kim Jong-il.

5. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

Perfect for college freshmen who are still unsure of their future, The Defining Decade examines the lives, loves and clinical pathologies of people in their 20s. If you don’t quite know who you are, or if you’re still waffling between an archaeology major and a bachelor degree in safety, this book can help you find your way.

These are just five pieces of literature that should be tucked into every freshman’s backpack. There are many more, of course, but these are enough to prompt imagination and self-reflection as you head into the next chapter of your life.

Author Bio

Karleia is a freelance blogger. Click the following link to pursue a masters in higher education online.

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