10 Books Every College Student Should Read

I know what you’re thinking: Ok here’s another list extolling the virtues of the same old books you just have to read or you will apparently fail miserably as a human being (insert eye roll here): The Great Gatsby, 1984, A Clockwork Orange, To Kill a Mockingbird…. And there are about 1,853 other lists out there telling you these same old books are the books every human being should read.

Well, we think you should expand yourself beyond just the classics. There’s a lot of great stuff being written about everything you can think of – so instead of dusting off that impossible-to-get through tome by that dead Russian guy from back in the day, go download a copy of these books and watch them change your life.

1.) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Ever wonder why some people are more successful than others? Are they really just that much better than the rest of us? Gladwell examines what actually goes into success and along the way delivers the secrets of software billionaires, explains why Asians are good at math, and breaks down what exactly made the Beatles so great.

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2.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Ok, this one might be a classic that slipped into this list. But I’m sucker for Jane Austen, and honestly, this book is still as amazing today as it was when published. But, you can’t rely on just the movie (or miniseries) to fully enjoy one of the best pieces of literature in the English language. Do yourself a favor and read the original romantic comedy all over again.

3.) Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

This may just be the novel that inspires you to travel the world in search of something bigger than yourself. This is a fictional account that follows the author’s real-life adventures after he escapes from an Australian prison, flees to India, joins the mafia in Bombay, works as a slum doctor, and all the while searches for love and the meaning of life. It’s both a roller-coaster action ride and an exploration of humanity.

4.) #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

How does a woman go from dumpster diving to running a multi-million dollar fashion company? Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal, tells her story and offers some brazen advice on finding your own unique path to success. As Sophia says, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”

5.) 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

There are some books that end up on every “You Should Read This” list and 100 Years of Solitude definitely falls into that category. This tragicomedy tells to story of life and death through a mythical town and one family’s history. Both poignant and magical, this crazy story will warp your brain in the best way.

6.) Freakanomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

No, this isn’t a boring economics books talking about supply and demand. It’s actually a funny, twisted way to look at the hidden side of everything. Not only is it wildly entertaining (yes, a book about economics is being described as wildly entertaining), but it will make you think. After all, who doesn’t want to know what schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?

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7.) A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Brush up on your science skills with the science professor you wish you had. Tackling everything from the Big Bang, to the rise of civilization, this book will go through some amazing science in a really accessible way. Plus, you get to learn a little bit about everything!

8.) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This sci-fi/dystopian novel is a fast, fun read for anyone who loves video games. Or science fiction. Or completely dystopian novels. Filled with pop culture references, this is the story of a teenage boy who prefers an online virtual utopia to real life. But when he starts to unlock the puzzles within this utopia, his real life is threatened by other players willing to kill for the ultimate gaming prize. Oh, and this one is going to be a movie soon, so check it out before it hits the theaters.

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9.) Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Sadly, you can’t stay in college forever, which means pretty soon you’ll have to become, gulp, an adult. This is funny, wise, and useful as heck book will help you conquer adulthood – or at least keep you from running out of toilet paper.

10.) A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

You might be familiar with a little show called Game of Thrones. Well, this is the series the show is based off of and, as often happens, the books are even better than the screen version. Just do yourself a favor and read the books.

What other books would you add to this list?

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Caitlin Warnock

Content creator by day, bookworm by night, Caitlin is all about 3 things: writing with personality and humanity, shamelessly promoting the oxford comma, and devouring as many tacos as her hometown city, Austin, TX, can provide. You can find her on The Storied Life or LinkedIn.

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