10 Books to Read Before You Graduate: Contemporary Edition

Sometimes I see these articles pop up on Facebook saying “100 classic books to read before you graduate.” Most of those lists include dense, complicated novels like Moby Dick or The Iliad. Suggesting blah books like these are crazy turn-offs to people who don't like to read or are regular readers with different tastes. Even as an English major, I think some of these books are too outdated to still include on lists for young people to read. I mean, faced between War and Peace and To Kill A Mockingbird,  I'm gonna choose the latter. So, with that in mind, I’ve come up with my own list that’s more millennial and non-reader friendly: Top 10 Contemporary Books to Read Before You Graduate.

10. Into the Wild --Jon Krakauer

Full of humor and heartbreak, Into the Wild chronicles the real tale of Christopher, who gives up all his worldly possessions and leaves college to live a nomadic existence.

9. The Rosie Project --Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, a socially clueless scientist, constructs a dating survey to capture the perfect match. However, who he’s matched up with is the exact person he was looking to avoid.

8. Room​ -- Emma Donoghue

Chilling yet funny, Room details the lives of a mother and son locked in a small room by their kidnapper, as told through the eyes of five-year-old Jack.

7. A Man Called Ove -- Fredrik Backman

Backman, a Swedish author, has readers laughing one chapter and crying the next as he tells the quirky tale of Ove, a man whose suicide keeps getting interrupted.

6. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas -- John Boyne 

A holocaust tale told through the eyes of a little German boy, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas juxtaposes the gritty reality of the Jewish holocaust with childhood innocence.

5. Still Alice -- Lisa Genova

Genova’s novel offers insight into the debilitating disease of Alzheimer’s. As Alice slowly loses her mind, the reader sees not just the effects on her, but on those surrounding her as well.

4. Thirteen Reasons Why -- Jay Asher

Made into the popular Netflix series, Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of the events leading up to Hannah’s suicide in a darkly creative way.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower -- Stephen Chbosky

Perhaps the most quintessential coming-of-age novel, Chbosky’s book details what it’s like to grow up different in modern times.

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time -- Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone, an autistic teen, solves the mystery of his missing mother. Hilarious and unique, Haddon’s tale teaches readers to respect and celebrate others’ differences.

1. Harry Potter -- J.K. Rowling

This one is kind of a cheat because it’s actually seven books. Regardless, it’s the best series in the world, and if you haven’t read it you need to. Right. Now.