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College 101

A Manageable College-Bound Reading List
Article Type: Tasty Bits

"Even just carrying one of these around will make you look smarter. But remember what our mom taught you: looks aren’t everything; it’s the inside that counts."


There’s no college application out there that has a space for you to list all of the books you’ve ever read. (At least let’s hope that your list is too long to list…) But that doesn’t mean that putting your video game controller down or turning off your cell phone for an hour each day isn’t a good idea. There will come a time during this process—it may be during an interview, while writing an essay, or in a simple conversation with a college tour guide—when you will wish you had read that particular book that will add to conversation about what it’s like to wake up and realize you’ve turned into a giant cockroach…. (Kafka’s The Metamorphosis)

 Shmoopers love to read and, while that may not be true for everyone, if you’re planning on heading to college, you will do a lot of reading, and it’d behoove you to have some of the following classics under your belt (and understand what the word “behoove” means). We aren’t saying that you have to read them all; we’re just providing suggestions that might help you launch your college career. To make this list less overwhelming, we’ve grouped some of the most important college-bound reads into themes so you can choose books on topics that you enjoy (and won’t be surprised that Wuthering Heights isn’t an adventure story about conquering a fear of high places).


Coming of Age Stories

Romance (or lack thereof)

War and Revolution

The Human Condition

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