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9 Books to Read During Your Time at University

Rear View of Brunette Woman Reading Map at Wooden Table in Forest.

It can feel like your time at university is so full that you have no time for reading beyond required materials. However, reading other books is a great way to relax, expand your mind, and improve your writing skills. In particular, there are nine books you should consider adding to your reading list — or even downloading to listen to as an audiobook while you walk to class.

1. The Great Gatsby

With everyone talking about a revival of the roaring 20s, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous book is a must-read at the moment. You may even have the chance to attend a Great Gatsby party in the coming months. Instead of relying on the movie to understand the background, read the book.

2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Since college is all about considering different perspectives, it’s a good time to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This controversial book takes an anti-slavery stance and is heavy on religion. The content means it is certainly no easy read, but it’s useful for understanding historical perspectives and relating them to the world we live in today.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird

Continue your exploration of racism with To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s book examines all the different human emotions in this story about a child losing her innocence. Furthermore, the descriptions are so vivid that you’ll feel as if you’re walking through the town and living its events with the narrator.

4. Norwegian Wood

One of Haruki Murakami’s most read books is Norwegian Wood — and for good reason. The novel transports you back to the 60s, but everything about it is relevant today. Since it’s a coming-of-age story about a college student, the ideal time to read the book is while you’re at university.

5. Crime and Punishment

Your reading list could include a number of Russian classics, but one that it definitely needs is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is another story about a student trying to figure out his place in the world, but it’s from a point of him figuring out his importance — and whether that gives him the right to murder. The book is a great exploration of morality and conscience.

6. The Stranger

After you finish Crime and Punishment, read The Stranger. In the novel, Albert Camus paints a completely different picture of the mindset of a character who has just committed murder.

7. 1984

George Orwell takes dystopian fiction to another level in 1984. This book is a warning about a future where people lack privacy and free thought and where there is state-controlled misinformation. If this book has never been part of your required reading at school, now’s the time to read it.

8. Brave New World

For even more dystopia, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a top choice. This book will make you think about the unintended consequences of advances in science and technology and the importance of individuality weighed against benefits for society as a whole.

9. River Out of Eden

Even though you’ll be reading many textbooks at university, your reading list shouldn’t just be novels. A great choice for some nonfiction is River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life. It’s one of Richard Dawkins’s shorter books, but it’s an excellent summary of evolution written with humour. You’ll find it to be a great complement to your biology class as well as a good choice if you simply want to understand the basics of science and life in an accessible way.

It’s more difficult to read for pleasure when you lack a comfortable, quiet place to settle down with a book. When you live at King Street Towers, though, you’ll have a private bedroom with a bed and a desk, a living room in your shared suite, and access to our study spaces. Book a video tour to check out our Laurier off-campus housing from wherever you are.

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