Reviews | College students need to read for fun
I won’t say read is fun for everyone but reading can be fun for everyone.
As students with limited free time, with a plethora of off-campus commitments and social obligations, finding time to read can be difficult, if not entirely impossible.
I quickly learned during my college experience that the number of readings assigned by my teachers increased astronomically from high school. When this is the case, why would students feel pressured to read if they already have to absorb medieval literature or cell biology books on a regular basis?
There are kinds of books and books in the world that exist outside of academia. In 2010, there was 129,864,880 different books in existence.
In accordance with this statistic, I have to say that there is a book for everyone. While students can often feel too overwhelmed to consider reading for fun, the activity of reading for leisure is invaluable. Reading can enrich our minds, bring us comfort, open us to new ideas and improve our outlook on the world. With this kind of potential, reading cannot be left out in the classroom.
With students’ busy schedules, the biggest obstacle to reading is the act of getting started. When this is the case, the best thing for students to do is to pick up a habit they learned throughout college and apply it to their hobbies: plan ahead.
I was able to apply my time management skills thanks to Goodreads. This year my Good reading the reading goal was 21 books. Ten months later, and I’m reading my 49th book of the year. Whether it’s through an app, a favorites list on Audible, or an old-fashioned list on pen and paper, students can achieve their goals by making it a priority.
While academics are undoubtedly important, cultivating ourselves in other areas of life is just as vital. It can only lead to improvement and to become a more balanced individual.
I cannot suggest that students start reading without doing the same myself. So, in an effort to make reading as exciting as it really is, and to get you to pick a book or two, here’s a list of my favorite 2021 reads (in no particular order).
“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig
If you’ve ever wondered what’s between life and death, this book is for you. A refreshing combination of what has been and what will be, “The Midnight Library” will immerse you in a world beyond our own. This is exactly what happens to Nora Seed, a young introvert whose life does not turn out exactly as she had planned.
But one question remains: if you had a chance to come back into your life and make a difference, what would you do differently?
“Belle guerre” by Julie Berry
Set in World War I, Julie Berry’s “Lovely War” covers the story of two sets of young lovers: two English natives who meet at a party in London and fall in love deeply and quickly, and an African soldier. American and a Belgian refugee who volunteers with the Red Cross.
Berry presents another timeline where the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells the story of these couples to her husband, the god Hephaestus, and her lover, the god Ares, in a hotel room in New York City in the 1940s.
Throughout the book, readers wonder why love and war are so intertwined. What makes falling in love in wartime so… charming?
Jojo Moyes’ “The Star Giver”
There is no better way to engage in reading than to pick up a book from a library. In this case, a traveling library.
Set in the 1930s and based on a true story, “The Giver of Stars”, by Jojo Moyes, presents an aristocratic young girl named Alice who marries a handsome American to escape her life in England. She soon realizes that rural Kentucky is as stifling as her life across the pond.
When Eleanor Roosevelt announces her plans for a nationwide traveling library, Alice jumps at the chance to get involved in the city and meet new people to make her new life more bearable.
Five women take on the challenge of bringing books through the mountains of Kentucky and discover a lot about themselves and each other along the way.
“A tree grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith
An American classic set at the turn of the 20th century in Williamsburg, New York, this coming-of-age novel illuminates the life of a young and precocious Francie Nolan who lives with her family in a poor neighborhood.
Throughout the book, we see Francie growing and changing with her family and the city itself. This ‘Slice of Life’ shines a light on the good, the bad, and the ugly of life as Nolan, from mundane daily chores to the exciting moments in Francie’s years of development.
Every day is a gift, and life sometimes feels like it’s not worth living, but in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, Betty Smith sums up how wonderful your world can be.
“The ladies” by Alex Michaelides
A Cambridge murder, a handsome American professor, a group psychotherapist and a vivid memory of a deceased lover come together to prove that a lot can happen in a short period of time.
In his second novel, bestselling “The Silent Patient” author Alex Michaelides brings us yet another psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat… or in this case on the edge of the page.
When undergraduate students from an elite group at Cambridge University continue to find themselves dead, Mariana Andros sets out to prove that the elusive professor Edward Fosca is behind the attacks.
With twists and turns around every corner and a murderer lurking in their midst, the characters in this fast-paced novel must keep their cool to avoid a bloody fate.
These are the books that made my year and will make the years to come as I reread them. A book is what you make of it. When a teacher says “you take out of the classroom what you put in the classroom,” you can roll your eyes, but they are not wrong. Learning is not limited to an atmosphere, a scene, a place or a moment. Learning is a lifelong attitude that extends through every moment, conversation and decision.
Once we start to see learning as more than just a note, we can begin to appreciate it for what it is: an opportunity. As we continue to learn, we are able to experience not only our world, but also ourselves.
Reading can illuminate real-world experiences in an entertaining and accessible way. By reading for fun, we can develop our mind and soul in equal measure.
Whether you buy one of these books or not, get yourself a book soon. You will thank yourself. As Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays approach, take this opportunity to ask yourself a few questions: when was the last time I read for fun? Am I pursuing enough growth outside academia? Did I take enough time to relax and improve my mental health?
Whatever the answers, it can’t hurt to try reading.
Questions? Send an email to the Opinions department at [email protected].