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Who has time for reading in college? You have tons of classes to take every day, and you’re dealing with projects on weekends. Of course you have some free time on your hands, but you want to use that for bonding with your new friends. Guess what: if you don’t have time for books now, you’ll never have. After college, you’ll be in a constant rush with time.

There are books that can change your point of view. Books that make you smarter. Books that make you a better person, above all.

Check out this list of top 10 books that every student should read during college.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The book won the Pulitzer Prize and became an immediate success when it was published in 1960. The narrator, Atticus Finch, is one of the warmest and most likeable characters in literature. He is the epitome of racial heroism, and a personal hero to many readers. This book will make you sad when you realize that not many people on this planet are worthy of being called humans. However, it will also inspire you to be one of the good ones.

2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

You were too young to understand it in high school. College is the right time for this book. It’s weird, bold, and more real than you think. Where is our race heading to? Is too much freedom good for us? What’s the meaning of freedom, anyway? There will be a lot of questions on your mind once you finish reading A Clockwork Orange. That’s what a good book does: makes you wonder about everything you thought you stood for.

3. “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman

I recommend you to explore literature further than the usual classics that everyone has to read. Adding this book on your list will add the dose of freshness you need. When you’re seeking for inspiration, you need to find it in successful people. People like Richard Feynman, who was a famous theoretical physicist with a Nobel Prize in Physics under his belt. In this book, he shares quirky anecdotes that make you realize: geniuses are weird, funny, and awesome at the same time. You’ll want to be one, too!

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This is the masterpiece of the Nobel Prize laureate William Golding. A group of boys end up on a remote island as the only survivors of a crashed plane. They find themselves in a community with no boundaries. There, everything is possible. You’ll realize the importance of leaders and thinkers in a society. You’ll understand that compromise is necessary. But, you’ll also think: if all laws and community rules were erased, what options for survival would we have? What kind of society would you build?

5. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama

Here’s my honest recommendation to all students: you don’t need self-help books. Some of them are okay, but if you’re looking for that kind of literature, make sure to stick to established psychologists. Most of the books in that category are junk. This one doesn’t belong to that category, but it’s also an inspirational book. A good one! Save it for a period when you’re feeling down. The Dalai Lama shares profound wisdom with a single conclusion: everyone can be happy. That state is determined less by external events and more by your own mind.

6. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Is there a student who doesn’t dream of changing the world? While you’re at college, you’re idealistic in nature. You’re not only thinking about personal success; you’re deeply concerned about the way you’ll impact society after graduation. Don Quixote is a mandatory read during college. It will make you realize that ideals are beautiful, but the hero has to keep touch with reality.

7. The Stranger by Albert Camus

College is the best time for exploring the notion of the absurd. Absurdity is the main theme in Camus’ work. That shouldn’t make you think that The Stranger is a pointless book, though. It makes you think about the importance of personal choice. Is being indifferent useful sometimes? Is it possible, anyway?

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This book tells you a story about the mythical town of Macondo. It’s an epic novel that makes you think about the purpose and evolution of humanity. Are we all doomed to end up lonely and miserable? What role does loneliness play in our lives? When you feel like you’re all alone on this world, read this book. It will remind you how important family and friends are.

9. 1984 – George Orwell

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” Is that quote enough to make you want to read this book? Orwell’s vision of the future would frighten anyone, from the most pessimistic misanthrope to the most idealistic optimist. The question is: are we living that future NOW?

10. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky

This is the most Dostoevskian novel of all that Dostoevsky wrote. It makes you question everything. Your purpose in life, your beliefs, doubts, free will… everything. It’s a philosophical drama that’s easy to read, but hard to contemplate on. It raises so many questions that a single read is not enough. You keep discovering new moral issues with each page you turn.


It is possible to find time for at least 10 books throughout college. If you’re there for 4 years, that means you’ll be reading 3-4 books per year. It seems like an achievable goal, doesn’t it? But, those have to be the right books. You can’t waste the little time you have to useless literature. Do you like the ones suggested above?

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