Whether you live in the library or pick up the occasional bestseller here and there, it’s important for both your mind and soul that you get in some fun reading in between classes or during your breaks. To make it easier to find your next favorite book, we picked out a mix of classics, must-reads, beach books, and true stories that are made just for college students like you with characters experiencing some of the very same things you are.
OCM’s Recommended Reading List: Books for College Students
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
You’ve probably more familiar with Salinger’s most popular work, The Catcher in the Rye. If you liked that one, you’ll love Franny and Zooey. It’s two short stories, each describing late-teenage girls discussing their discontent with life, college, and a world in which they view as fake and insincere. This is a perfect read if you like your drama with a side of philosophical talk.
The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborne, Jr.
Not exactly a classic, but this is pretty much required reading if you’re headed to the Ivy’s, are an ambitious student, or are planning on getting your law degree. It tells the story of a James Hart as he goes to law school at Harvard and meets a professor he becomes obsessed with. You’ll never look at a grade the same way after finishing this book.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
If you’re a sports fan, especially baseball, this is an absolute must-have on your bookshelf. When a college baseball star’s life becomes complicated with fame and disappointment, his decisions affect more than just what happens on the field. It’s part romance, part philosophical, part modern epic.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
On top of basically everyone’s reading list, you’ll figure out just why this book is so real, yet so hard to look away from. An obsessive writer of fan fiction, Cath is out of place at her school despite being talented. College drama only complicates the situation making her life stranger than fiction.
Girl and Dream School by Blake Nelson
A two-parter, the first book, Girl, begins in high school, a great starting point for recent grads, and then moves to heroine Andrea headed off to college. But she quickly finds out it isn’t exactly what she expected or dreamed it to be. If you find college to be messy and complicated, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement with just about every experience Andrea has.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
It’s not really set in college, but it’s the perfect read if you think the best night out is a night in. With a ton of backed up research, you’ll learn just what makes you special, even if you have a harder time expressing it. And, you’ll be inspired to make the most of your personality in the classroom and in your future career.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch is a brilliant computer science professor who has a passion for all things life, but when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he is faced with giving his last college talk. His lecture on achieving your dreams is a culmination of wisdom, advice, and inspiration that you will not soon forget when you finish the last page.