Books To Read Before Starting College

Books To Read Before Starting College
(Photo Credit: Wonderlane//Flickr)

Though college has long been renowned as the ultimate intellectual journey, let’s be honest: the average student rarely has time to read for the sake of reading.

However, this summer I saw that Minnesota Public Radio was doing a segment on books students should read before entering college.

As I listened to the list I began to think of books I had read in high school that changed the way I thought, and inspired me as I moved forward into college.  And I thought of books I read in college classes I wished I had read before entering college, as they significantly changed the way I perceived the world.

With this in mind, I posed the same question to my friends, ChiU writers and the ChicagoNow blogging community:

What one book would you suggest people read before entering college?

The answers create a reading list for those looking for inspiration, whether college-bound, currently studying or graduated.  Check out the list below and comment with your own suggestions:

"Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn -Lynda Lopez ("Quite amazing")

"Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You" by Peter Cameron -Adilla Menayang ("It's light reading and it's about a confused college-bound kid")

"AP Stylebook" -Laura Kujava ("FRONT TO BACK")

"Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut -Jimmy Greenfield ("It's just tremendous and has the most haunting closing line of a book I ever read, one that should remind a college-age person to treasure being young")

"Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger -Beth Weindruch Prystowsky

The instruction manual that comes with a George Foreman grill - Tab Bamford

"Freakonomics" by Steven J. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner or "1984" by George Orwell -Evan F. Moore

"The Secret" by Rhonda Byrnes - Don Dziedzina ("This is a great book for anyone who wants to succeed in anything. After reading this book I am a believer that we can control our lives and future happenings, obviously within reason")

"Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell -Drew Wasserman

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee -Stephanie Behne

"The Mysterious Stranger" by Mark Twain (short story) -T.R. Slyder

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo -Nicole Kane Knepper

"Care of the Soul" by Thomas Moore - Nicole Kane Knepper ("A must read for all humans")

"Aspire" by Kevin Hall -Karen Griffard Putz

"Elements of Style" -Janet Joliat Dahl

"The Things They Carried" by -Colleen Carson

"The Five People You Meet In Heaven" by -Arthur Beil

"Blindness" by Jose Saramago, "Erasure" by Percival Everitt  -Karis Hustad ("For me, college was about changing the way that I perceived the world and stepping out of my comfort zone.  Both of these challenged me to look at literature, and the world in an entirely different way")

To listen to the original audio, click below:

What book would you suggest students believe they should read before they enter college?  What characteristics should these books contain?  Agree or disagree with any of these choices?  Let us know in the comments below!

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  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles

  • The Devil's Highway by Luis Urrea

  • The Road to Serfdom (FA Hayek)
    Everything by Forrest McDonald (Forrest McDonald)
    Fame and the Founding Fathers (Douglas Adair)
    Economics in One Lesson (Henry Hazlitt)
    And of course the classics like Cicero's work and the like.

  • I would also recommend a Russian great writer, Dostoievski : The Idiot ! Good book, worth reading!

  • Thanks for your suggestions! All great books.

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