Summer is right around the corner, and whether you’re traveling, doing an internship/job, or just staying home, one thing is (probably) true: you have a lot of spare time. You might even find yourself twiddling your thumbs because you’ve ran out of things to do.
Enjoy your summer, but don’t forget to make the best of it! One of the best and easiest ways to occupy your time is to read. Reading is so great because not only are you enjoying, but you’re also learning. Becoming well-read opens a lot of opportunities — new hobbies, conversations, etc. can all be born out of reading more.
Reading more books also comes in handy when you’re applying to college. Whether you’re at an interview or filling our your application, colleges will often ask you about the book’s you’ve read in the past. Here are some real examples of how colleges have asked students in the past:
- Harvard: [Give us] A list of books you have read during the past twelve months (2016-17 supplemental essay option)
- Stanford: Name your favorite books, authors, films, and/or artists. (short answer question 2016-17)
- University of Chicago: Share with us a few of your favorite books, poems, authors, films, plays, pieces of music, musicians, performers, paintings, artists, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. Feel free to touch on one, some, or all of the categories listed, or add a category of your own. (2016-17 optional prompt)
As you can see, asking about past books you’ve read is quite common. Colleges want to see the person beyond the grades, numbers, etc. and they’re hoping the books you’ve read will reflect what you’re interested in. While it’s important to read books you actually want to (not just because they seem “impressive” to colleges), you also should also keep in mind that colleges do want to see readers that look for a bit more depth in their books. John Green books may be fun to read, but maybe that shouldn’t be all that you read.
So, what to read? What are some books that are both interesting and show colleges that you think on a deeper level? Well, if you’re asking these questions, welcome to the Synocate Book Club! Here are some books that you’ll love reading and you’ll love talking about with colleges.
If you love historical fiction,
The Book Thief || Markus Zusak
Dark, compelling and amazingly real, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a pre-teen living in Nazi Germany during WWII. In her struggle to find innocence in Nazi Germany, Liesel finds something else: courage. Risking her life, Liesel steals books from Nazi destruction, writes her own stories, and even teaches a man how to read. With 129 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, this book is a great read for those interested in education, strong female characters, coming-of-age stories, and history.
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Kite Runner || Khaled Hosseini
Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, The Kite Runner is a historical fiction that tells the story of Amir and his father’s young Hazara servant, Hassan. The story takes place throughout the history of the Middle East: the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy, the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime are all included. As number #1 on New York Times Bestsellers for two years, The Kite Runner introduces students to a new world and a rich, tumultuous history that they may not have known much about. Adventurous and thrilling, this is a great book for those who like more fast-paced, dramatic stories.
If you love science fiction,
Slaughterhouse-Five || Kurt Vonnegut
Often cited as Vonnegut’s most influential and famous work of literature, Slaughterhouse-Five tells the story of “time-traveler” Billy Pilgrim. In this seemingly non-heroic tale, Billy travels back and forth in time, visiting his birth, death, time as an American soldier, and everything in between, all out of order. A quirky mixture of both sci-fi and historical fiction, Slaughterhouse Five is a true American classic.
Genre: Science/Historical fiction
If you love social justice,
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World || Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region, restricting women from expressing any opinion or from doing many self-expressive activities — even just going to school. Malala, at fifteen years old, fought for right to be educated, and on October 9, 2012, she almost died fighting for her cause: she was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. Written by the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala’s memoir tells firsthand the remarkable story of this courageous girl who changed the world. Malala’s story will surely inspire and empower any young reader to change their community.
If you love dystopian novels,
1984 || George Orwell
A great modern classic, 1984 is often cited as the dystopian novel. In 1984, Oceania is a place where the “Party” oppresses individuality, criticizes human actions, and watches over every part of your life with the powerful Big Brother. Winston Smith dares to defy the strict boundaries and rules set by the intimidating Party; he expresses his thoughts in a diary and pursues a true relationship of love. 1984 is short, but it’s exciting, thoughtful, and almost unsettlingly realistic. This is a fantastic book for those who enjoy dystopian novels and want a shorter read.
Genre: Dystopian fiction, satire
If you love classics,
To Kill A Mockingbird || Harper Lee
A story of racism, courage, and innocence, To Kill A Mockingbird is a staple to every high school English class. Narrated by young heroine Scout Finch, the reader sees Scout’s father and attorney, Atticus Finch, hopelessly prove the innocence of a black man unjustly accused of rape. To Kill A Mockingbird is a riveting American classic that every student should read.
Genre: Coming-of-age fiction
These are just few of many books that are fun to read and fun to share. If you have any other recommendations or like to give your own review of a book, feel free to comment your thoughts. Happy reading!