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The 10 Books You Should Read in Your College Years

​As an English major, I read enough in and out of the classroom for myself and the next college student. I do understand, however, that not everyone loves reading as much as me, so here is a short list of the most essential books to read while you’re in college. From interesting science fiction to socially influencing novels, this list will provide you with plenty of entertainment and food for thought. So curl up on the couch with a blanket and some hot tea and get reading!

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green



A novel by the super popular John Green, Looking for Alaska follows the adorable Pudge as he transfers to a new boarding school and tries to keep up with his new crazy friends. The story will make you cry, laugh, but most of all it will make you realize how important it is to make each day count. 

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath



Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel lets you live the life of a young woman in the 1950’s. It’s truly an inspiring tale of feminism and recognizing the unlimited options available to women, just ignore the fact that after writing this she stuck her head in the oven. 

3. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin


Yes, the novel that inspired the HBO show, and yes, it’s technically a series and not a book. It’s a daunting task since the books are absolutely ginormous and the series hasn’t even been completed, but you get even more sex and violence than in the show. Plus when will you ever have this much free time in your life?

4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood



What you’ll think is another boring classroom assignment will actually turn into one of the best books you’ll ever read. The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian story about the fears and taboos surrounding sexuality and women’s rights. If this book doesn’t ignite your inner feminist, I don’t know what will. 

5. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling


This list would not be complete without an autobiography by a funny lady. This gem by Mindy Kaling takes you through her relationship and career struggles with hilarious anecdotes and surprisingly uplifting advice about finding love, chasing your dreams, and just trying to survive in this crazy world.

6. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 

This is the Japanese novel that inspired the Hunger Games trilogy and simply blows it out of the water. The similarities are obvious: groups of children being pitted against each other by the government and left to die. However, this version is much gorier and doesn’t involve all the romance and anarchy nonsense. 

7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


The Eleanor & Park author wins again with a delightful story about Cath, a new freshman in college and certified “fangirl.” This is the perfect book for those struggling to find their place in college (aka all of us!) and for the true fangirls at heart. 

8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


The famous novel that contains the meaning of life and will inspire you to look for adventure, intergalactic or not. It’s a humorous story about the end of the world, aliens, and adventure and it’s one of those books that absolutely has to be read, even just for the party conversation. 

9. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray


Bray’s hilarious and satirical novel involves beauty queens, deserted islands, and machine guns. It’s really a book about forging friendships, letting go of stereotypes, and thwarting the media’s beauty ideals, but it’s funny as hell. 

10. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom


A story about an old man named Eddie who, after tragically dying, finds himself facing five very important people who help him realize how amazing his life was after all. This book will make you appreciate every person in your life and recognize that every action has a reaction. 

Kirby is a recent graduate from UCSB currently living in Los Angeles. As a proud Her Campus UCSB alum, she's happy to be back on the HC team covering one of her fave shows: "The Mindy Project." On any given day you can find her with her nose in a book (let's be real - it's a Kindle). In her free time, she likes petting dogs, binge-watching TV, and eating a lot of food. Find her on Instagram: @kirbynicoleb or @GirlBossEats. 
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