16 Books To Read Before You Graduate College
Politics and Activism

16 Books To Read Before You Graduate College

Here are the 16 books you should read before you graduate that no one will tell you about.

393
16 Books To Read Before You Graduate College
Pexels

DISCLAIMER: this list isn't going to be full of the typical books you read in high school and college. They are works that have established the world as we know it, and deserve to be read even if they are not the most well known.

Maybe you love reading and need a fresh reading list. Maybe you hate reading and need some books that will impress your potential employers without making you want to die. Well, either way, this article is the one for you. If you read these by the time you graduate college, you will understand a lot more of the references people older than you are making, and you will communicate more effectively with your peers and superiors.

*Click pictures for a link to the Amazon book listing!

1. Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

OK, I lied. I Included this book, one that is usually read by the time one graduates high school, because I think it is important to read again while in college from that particular perspective. "Catcher" is all about accepting the fact that bad things happen in the world, and how to cope with them. It’s about brutal loss, loneliness, and family. Odds are, you or someone you love will experience life in the same way Holden Caulfield has, and this book will help you understand these experiences.

2. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book was referred to me by a member of the California State Congress. It is his go to book referral for youth, and for good reason! After reading, you will be a better communicator, sales person (selling ideas and items), and leader.

3. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai


If you have read any of my articles, you know how important I think our education system is. Malala, only a child at the time, was willing to risk her life to defend this right for girls who otherwise would never have had it. Her story deserves to be told.

4. The Republic by Plato

This is the longest, but most worthwhile book on the list. Even if you can’t get through the whole thing, at least try to cover the most important, relevant parts. In "The Republic" Plato creates “the ideal society.” It is relevant to us because of what is covered in this book created the foundations of our democracy and many aspects of our institution. In short, if you want to know more about the world you live in, read "The Republic."

5. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich

"Nickel and Dimed" will help you better understand the diverse environment that is America. In a country of great wealth, we also see great poverty, and this book is Ehrenreich’s experience moving from the comforts of her middle-class home to an entirely new city, taking on minimum wage jobs, and better understanding how difficult it is to achieve the “American Dream.” In short, if you want to better understand those around you, read "Nickel and Dimed."

6. No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

This is a very short book of poetry. Mostly a spoken word poet, Sarah Kay takes all kinds of experiences and summarizes them into a page or less. I truly believe that poetry helps one to better understand the world around them, so I added one simply, easily understandable book of poetry to this list.

7. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

This is one of the most misrepresented, misquoted books of all time. Many people assume it is an atheist narrative, when in reality it shaped the foundations of modern science in countless ways. In fact, Darwin begins his book by explicitly stating that his work should never be taken as a proof against God and creation.

8. 10% Happier by Dan Harris

Admittedly, this is a recommendation from my wonderful mother, who is awesome at finding books that help you improve your life. Harris had a panic attack on Good Morning America, causing him to delve into research about how anyone can truly increase their happiness and improve their quality of life. By delving into the lives of some of the most stressed people in the world, including CEOs, scientists, and Marines, he discovered some of the methods by which they all found peace and tranquility amidst hectic lifestyles.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This is a well known classic that I had to put on the list because it is one of the most important books in our current political climate. Though these particular situations don’t happen in this particular way, and definitely not as obviously, there are so many instances in which we forgo our humanity for biases based on pride and prejudice. If that doesn’t draw you in, it’s a love story for the ages and you won’t want to miss it.

10. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison

I read these papers in my Constitutional Development class and I personally think that every politician needs to read them all before they start a sentence with “the founders intended…” It was created by the fathers of our nation to defend the Constitution, thereby explaining every confusing point in the constitution to those who were against or misinterpreting it. If you want to know your rights and have an educated discussion about politics, read this!

11. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Don’t be scared off by older classics; if you have passed high school English, you can read this! This book is one of the most unique, revolutionary novels of all time, so I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Not only did Chaucer write this in English when the only standard literary language was Latin, making it one of the first books in the English language, but he also wrote in 24 different voices! His stories were so incredible that he was asked to read them to the king of that time.

12. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

Lewis is a brilliant author that specializes in taking complicated events and turning them into understandable, humorous stories. In The Big Short, he explains what exactly caused the 2008 financial crisis. This story is important to know if you want to know what truly happened in 2008 - an event that shaped every modern business and organization - and if you want to better understand what happened to those who experienced the crisis first hand.

13. Antigone by Sophocles

So I had to put a play in here, but don’t worry, this one is short and will keep you on your toes. It is a beautiful story about family, sacrifice, and commitment to one’s own beliefs. Additionally, the story ties into other greek stories (Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus. Sound familiar?). Antigone is willing to go above and beyond, even breaking the law, to do what she believes is right. Overall, the story is a fast-paced, enthralling one, with a lot of references that we use in our everyday language.

14. Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Guys, this book changed the face of our nation and sparked the independence of our country. Published anonymously six months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it is one of the most revolutionary works ever published. It was also created for a mass audience, one of the few documents that truly influenced individuals from every corner of the nation. If you want to understand our country and how we have succeeded, read this relatively short book.

15. Song Of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Guys, this woman has won a NOBEL PRIZE because she “gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” That’s right, she’s brilliant. She writes a story about an all too overlooked part of the American experience, so I encourage you to immerse herself into this story and truly appreciate for the masterpiece it is.

16. John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

This is obviously a short work, however it is quoted by politicians ALL THE TIME. I encourage you to read some of the many famous presidential speeches, as politicians love to recycle words of wisdom from the greats.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

We have all been there. Mindlessly scrolling through social media and then we see that post. We see someone we once saw a future with creating it with someone else. However this time it was really different. A lot of times when we say we are happy for someone we don't really mean it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

Affirmations affirm beliefs that we are in need of strengthening. They help up to focus on goals that we are striving for or on a powerful part of ourselves that we need a little reminder is within us.

They specifically focus on positive outcomes or belief systems that we're working to solidify, rather than solely focusing action on eradicating something "bad" or "wrong" from your life.

Keep Reading... Show less

About a year ago, I began my own fitness journey. Growing up, I had played soccer and kept busy, but after an injury cut my soccer career short I suddenly became very inactive. It took years of misfires before I finally found a new active passion for weight lifting. Getting started is never easy, and setting up for success is the best plan of action to assist anyone in your life who is thinking about starting their own journey. These are a few items you can gift for the fitness rookie in your life:

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Nordstrom's Biggest Sale Has The Most Legendary Deals On Luxury Beauty Brands We've Ever Seen

Counting down the days to the Chanel box set gracing my front door.

I oftentimes (excessively) use the excuse of my job as a writer to justify my excessive spending habits.

I needed the new Huda Beauty palette before anyone else in the name of journalistic integrity. It was my job to test out the new Francis Kurkdjian fragrance to make sure I could tell people whether or not it was truly worth the splurge (it was).

Keep Reading... Show less

Some people are so good at downplaying their sadness that even they don't realize how much they do it. When you ask them how they are they will always say that they are good, even when they aren't. They exhaust themselves by plastering an energetic and carefree persona in the spaces that you watch them in because at least to you they can control how they appear. They can pretend to be the happy person they want to be when everyone is telling them how funny and bubbly they are all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

Mental health is not an easy endeavor. It's not a fad. It's not a bandwagon that you can hop on and off of whenever you want to. Your yearly dose of sadness is not depression. I'm not here to define what depression — or anxiety, or any other type of mental health issue looks like — but I will tell you what it's not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Whether it's dealing with a global pandemic or getting fired from your job, the fear of not knowing can become consuming if it isn't controlled. Below are some easy ways to take back control and establish a peace of mind.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

My South Asian Roots Inspire My Future Career As Both A Scientist And Journalist — Here's How

Being born to culturally diverse parents, I feel like I have the best of both worlds!

Erikka Chowdhury

To all of those who don't know me, I'm an American girl with South Asian parents who have carved their own niche as immigrants in the USA.

Keep Reading... Show less

The beaches are starting to open up. At least in Cape Cod, where my family and I were able to vacation this week. Near our house, we have a bit of a private beach, which is great.

Keep Reading... Show less

I sometimes look back at the days when I had anorexia and think to myself what would have happened if I had taken another bite? Nowadays, I spend days dreading over my figure and wondering if the old sundresses and outfits even fit. I tell myself that they do, but I feel like reality holds a different truth.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments