We can all agree that reading is an important component in developing a successful life. Reading regularly helps to sharpen your intellect, strengthen your vocabulary, and build your knowledge base.
3 Reasons to Read Fiction
Reading fiction has a power that no other form of communication does: the power to insert you into someone else’s mind. It is a merge between the mind of the reader and the writer, and the minds of reader and character.
1. Immersive Experiences
Reading fiction is an immersive experience. When you read fiction, you can be someone you’d never otherwise have the chance to become – perhaps another gender, another age, someone of another nationality or another circumstance. You can be a scientist, artist, explorer, a mother or an orphaned boy – the possibilities are endless.
2. Think Differently
Studies have shown that our brains react the same way when we read a fictional experience as they would if we were going through that experience ourselves. When you set the book down – you walk away changed. You can understand and empathize with things you didn’t understand before, and that shapes your worldview.
3. Change Your Perspective
Looking at the world from a different perspective is one of the most valuable things you can do in the pursuit of growth. When we look at the world through someone else’s perspective, we try on the elements of their life – and when we find something we like, we can adopt it into our lives and make it our own. In doing so, our own sense of self grows.
We’ve created this two-part blog series full of must-read books for college students as a starting point to prepare you for this new, exciting chapter in life. In this second part, we’ll explore fiction titles.
Fiction Books for College:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Written in 1931, the novel portrays a future society where World Controllers have manufactured an ideal, but soulless, civilization through genetic engineering and psychological conditioning. Brave New World raises important questions regarding global capitalism, consumerism and modern technology – issues that have even more relevance today than when the book was first published in 1932.
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published in 1920, and taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, this book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Adapted into not one, but two films, The Great Gatsby is a masterful take on the jazz age. Follow Nick Carraway, a young Yale graduate and World War I veteran, millionaire Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, the object of Gatsby’s romantic obsession, in a cautionary tale about the recklessness of youth and letting go of the past.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
This novel highlights the life of Celie, a poor, African American woman growing up in the pre-civil rights South. Celie’s letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused by her father, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. This book explores Celie’s relationship with herself as a quiet and submissive housewife, trying to find her voice.
1984 by George Orwell
In this timeless classic, George Orwell imagines a dystopian future with perpetual war, rampant propaganda, and where Big Brother watches your every move. Oceania is ruled by the Party who persecute individuality and independent thinking. Winston Smith is a diligent and skillful Party member who secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion. He enters into a forbidden relationship with a colleague, Julia, and starts to remember what life was like before the Party came to power.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book centers around a young girl’s life while 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 – but on a man’s soul.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Holden cannot endure the hypocrisies of his high school boarding school any longer. In an effort to escape he flees to New York City, becoming an icon for teenage rebellion. The novel deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. But as order collapses and terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued. This novel demonstrates how important 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 most importantly: to stay human.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
This was the last book to be published during Dr. Seuss’ lifetime, and concerns the journey of life and its challenges. On the surface Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is like many of Dr. Seuss’ children’s books, but a closer look reveals several words of wisdom, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
Earnest Hemingway once said, “All good books have one thing in common – they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you’ve read one of them you will feel that all that happened, happened to you and then it belongs to you forever: the happiness and unhappiness, good and evil, ecstasy and sorrow, the food, wine, beds, people, and the weather.”
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Missed part one of this series? Check out Must-Read Non-Fiction Books for College Students.
I am surprised to find that I have already read all the books on this list except for the last one. I will definitely read it.
It is true that after I’ve read the book I will feel that all that happened, happened to me. It allows me to travel to different worlds and discover wonderful things.
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