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25 Essential Books That Every College Student Should Read

25 Essential Books That Every College Student Should Read

There is no college student who would like reading books, they say. Can you believe it? We hardly think so!

Yes, reading is fashionable. Again. And every college student is always in fashion as a rule. But a sufficient ammount of other reasons why books are worth reading for students can be found which are more essential than simple fashion following:

  • books widen your vocabulary;
  • books help students find new models for academic writing;
  • books improve your cognitive skills;
  • books expand your view of the world around;
  • books let students remember grammar and punctuation rules autmatically;
  • books help students learn a subject better;
  • books help you avoid a social exclusion (according to this study of the Basic Skills Agency).

Every college student has their own list of must-read, or at least must-check, books; but what if we tell you there are some writing masterpieces that are worth your attention and are essential for college students to read? Check the list below!

1. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

freedom

    “You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.”

    This is a story about a relationship, a love triangle which subjects first met in college. What will become more important to them: love or friendship? Is there any decision for this difficult situation, when you love but do not want to lose your best friend? Every college student should know the answer to these questions.

    2. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    this side of paradise

      “It is not life that’s complicated, it’s the struggle to guide and control life.”

      A privileged Princeton student becomes totally disillusioned after graduation. He finds out that life is completely different behind the walls of his college, and now he has to look for his self again. It sounds so familiar to many college students today, doesn’t it?

      3. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

      norwegian wood

        “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”

        This is a story about true love and friendship, when one college student has to change his life principles and attitude to everything that happens around. It teaches us to appreciate friendship and people who love us, and be ready to accept the ugly truth of life.

        4. 1984 by George Orwell

        1984

          “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

          A world divided between three totalitarian states. A total control, elimination of all human values, and attempts to survive in this world full of hatred. Will you be able to challenge the system? Are you strong enough to remain for ever one and not to lose your individuality?

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          5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

          crime and punishment

            “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”

            A well known novel about the student Raskolnikov and his attempts to find his place in this life and understand who he really is. After killing an old pawnbroker, this young man tries to justify his actions. Raskolnikov’s story can make every modern college student rethink their views to moral laws and their place in society.

            6. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

            a brave new world

              “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

              A novel that was called “a negative utopia” by its author. This is a story about our future world, where happiness plays an important role but individuality is not appreciated. Is it possible to stay happy, being like others? What is more important to young people: to accept things as they are, or try to resist the system?

              7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

              one hundred years of solitude

                “Then he made one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away, and he could not find it.”

                This is a myth-novel, an epic novel, a novel-paroemia about the evolution of humanity where each of us is doomed to loneliness, and where loneliness is the only thing that dominates the world where everything is tangled with the ties of fatal love. A perfect reading for college students to understand and estimate the importance of a family and close people who support them.

                8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

                the great gatsby

                  “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

                  This book should be read to feel the disillusionment many Americans felt during the Jazz Age. This is a good lesson to young people that teaches them to assess their capabilities and understand that our past can’t be returned; so, it is always better to let it go.

                  9. Lolita by Vladamir Nobokov

                  lolita

                    “I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.”

                    Full of humor and intrigue, this novel about forbidden love between a man and a young nymphet remains controversial today but can teach us understanding, sacrifice, forgiveness and many other traits that are so important but forgotten by so many people today.

                    10. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

                    a farewell to arms

                      “But life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.”

                      The first – and the best! – book of the English literature “Lost Generation” about World War I. This is a story about the war where young and naive boys became Poor Bloody Infantry, and either died or became embittered to the limit; about the war where love is just a brief moment of rest with no past and no future; about the war you want to forget but which can’t be forgotten.

                      11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

                      the grapes of wrath

                        “If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”

                        This is a story about one family that moves to California in attempts to find a better life during the great depression; the story about the importance of love, support, and close people near you; the story about resilience and courage of a man to roll with the punches.

                        12. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

                        the master and margarita

                          “Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he’s sometimes unexpectedly mortal -there’s the trick!”

                          The devil comes to Moscow. Merry mischief and melancholy sadness, romantic love and magical obsession, mystery and reckless game with the evil spirit – they all can be found in this novel. Perfect reading to find out how the evil can be more honest than a society and political regimes.

                          13. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

                          uncle tom's cabin

                            “Treat ’em like dogs, and you’ll have dogs’ works and dogs’ actions. Treat ’em like men, and you’ll have men’s works.”

                            This book is a part of many colleges history though it was both praised and criticized. A difficult and quite controversial period of American history many famous writers and essayists described is represented here, and it helps young people understand the principles and values of their nation to see how they have been changed since then.

                            14. The Stranger by Albert Camus

                            the stranger

                              “If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.” 

                              After reading this novel, young people will understand how important their personal choice is and how indifferent the universe sometimes is. The story of a person who killed a man and did not feel guilty lets us see how absurd the world around us may be.

                              15. The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama

                              the art of happiness

                                “Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.” 

                                The series of interviews with the Dalai Lama can help college students (and all other people actually) learn and understand how to attain fulfillment in their life and start feeling happy.

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                                16. Faust by Johann von Goethe

                                faust

                                  “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” 

                                  A bet between God and Mephistopheles for the soul of Faust turns into his supernatural journey and struggle for his will and freedom. This play teaches us to understand the difference between good and evil, learn some myths of ancient history, and master the art of dispute.

                                  17. Paradise Lost by John Milton

                                  paradise lost

                                    “Solitude sometimes is best society.” 

                                    We all know the Biblical story about Adam and Eve’s temptation into sin by Lucifer, the arrogant angel that fell from grace. But we know practically nothing about Lucifer himself. Paradise Lost helps us see the different side of good and bad, allowing to make our own impression about who is right.

                                    18. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

                                    loed of the flies

                                      “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” 

                                      An uninhabited island; a boundless ocean; and boys with no adults supervision. This is a story about a divided society by the example of a small kids’ community. A revolution. Bloodshed. Death. It demonstrates us how important (and necessary) it is to be a good leader, to have a clear mind, to be a critical thinker, to be able to find a compromise, and to stay a human first of all.

                                      19. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

                                      to kill a mockingbird

                                        “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 

                                        This is a book about a young girl’s growing up, which passes through adventures, fun, and relationships with peers. She has many things to learn about, including life’s unfairness to kids, weak people, or people with a different skin color. As a result, we can see that kindness, sympathy and mutual support do not depend on your color of skin, your social status, or public opinion. It all depends on a man’s soul.

                                        20. The Running Man by Stephen King

                                        the running man

                                          “Say your name over two hundred times and discover you are no one.” 

                                          In a typical small town, an ordinary man lives. Slowly but surely he sinks into the abyss of black hatred to himself and everyone who surrounds him. And when an occasion happens, it is impossible to stop him. America becomes a hell; people die of hunger, and the only way to get some money is to take part in the most monstrous game generated by a warped mind of a sadist. What are people ready to do and how far are they ready to go to get what they want?

                                          21. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

                                          a clockwork orange

                                            “When a man cannot chose, he ceases to be a man.” 

                                            This is a wicked satire to a modern totalitarian society that tends to turn a young generation into so-called “clockwork oranges”, obedient to the will of their leaders. A clever, cruel, charismatic antagonist Alex, a leader of a street gang that considers violence the high art of life, runs into the iron jaws of a new state program for the criminals rehabilitation, and he becomes a victim of violence himself.

                                            22. Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

                                            civilization and its discontents

                                              “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” 

                                              This book is a must-read for every college student just because it describes Freud’s views and ideas that are still a major part of our culture and world’s understanding. This is a good chance to understand why we live in society the way we do.

                                              23. A River Out of Eden by Richard Dawkins

                                              a river out of eden

                                                “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

                                                This book is a perfect reading for college students who want to learn the process of evolution in simple and interesting way. The author gives a truly beautiful explanation of our world’s birth and development, and no one will have heart to call this story boring.

                                                24. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

                                                hamlet

                                                  “We know what we are, but not what we may be.” 

                                                  One of the most well known plays of William Shakespeare, Hamlet helps us find the answer to the eternal question we heard many times: “To be or not to be?”. This is a story that can teach us to accept the responsibility for all our decisions and deeds.

                                                  25. The Divine Comedy by Dante

                                                  the divine comedy

                                                    “In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.”

                                                    Who did not hear about Dante and his nine circles of Inferno? This is our chance to learn them all and understand the view of afterlife Christians had in Middle Ages. We all will have to pay for our sins, and this book teaches us not to forget about that.

                                                    How many books from this list have you read already? Do you have anything to add or change here?

                                                    Featured photo credit: We read to know we are not alone/Debbie Friley via flickr.com

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                                                    Last Updated on August 10, 2020

                                                    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                                    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                                    The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                                                    Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                                                    Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important?”

                                                    1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                                                    It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                                                    But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                                                    Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                                                    Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                                                    “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                                                    And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                                                    Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                                                    2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                                                    Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                                                    You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                                                    Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                                                    Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                                                    3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                                                    A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                                                    But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                                                    Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                                                    Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                                                    4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                                                    This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                                                    Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                                                    What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                                                    This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                                                    If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                                                    5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                                                    This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                                                    What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                                                    The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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                                                    Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                                                    6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                                                    Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                                                    For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                                                    A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                                                    Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                                                    7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                                                    Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                                                    Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                                                    Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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                                                    If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                                                    8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                                                    I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                                                    Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                                                    Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                                                    There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                                                    Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                                                    So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                    These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                                                    If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                                                    Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                                                    More Tips About Goals Setting

                                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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