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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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                                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                                                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                    1. The Inner Critic

                                                    This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                                                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                    He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                    Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                    2. The Worrier

                                                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                    He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                                                    Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                    He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                                    He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                    He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                    His motivation can be:

                                                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                    How can you control these squatters?

                                                    How to Master Your Mind

                                                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                    For the Inner Critic

                                                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                                                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                    • He riles up the Worrier.
                                                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                    • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                    • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                    • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                                                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                    Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                    For the Worrier

                                                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                    • Muscles tense

                                                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                                                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                                    For example:

                                                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                    • Muscles tension

                                                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                    Breathe in through your nose:

                                                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                    Breathe out through your nose:

                                                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                                                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                    For the Sleep Depriver

                                                    (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                    • Shut down your thinking.
                                                    • Calm your feelings.
                                                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                    Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                                                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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