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6 Books You Should Read Before Going to University

An education isnít just academics, as Mark Twain said. Here are 6 books every student should read before heading off to university.
BY Deepak Rikhye |   20-05-2016

Laura Tucker is studying for a PhD in Sociology at the University of Warwick. After a car crash which confined her to a wheel chair, Laura struggled to come to terms with her new reality. As she coped with the change, she came up with a list of ten books for every student to read before they started university.

Here are five of the ten books which cover wide ranging subjects with interesting viewpoints and insights into different cultures. These books ask probing questions and offer incisive perspectives. They encourage students to broaden their world views as they plunge into university life. Indeed, these books can serve as talismans to question, rationalize, and above all, learn.

There is a sixth book included here, which every student should read before pursuing higher studies. This is Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird. It has been adjudged the “Book of the Century.”

Harper Lee, who died on 19th February, 2016, left a legacy in the form of this engrossing book. Her work offers an insightful commentary into human behaviour.

Summer vacations are the best time to begin with these books. So here they are.

  1. Cat’s Cradle: Kurt Vonnegut

    This book discusses everything from religion, to arm’s race, science, and politics, in a satirical way, which makes one skeptical of the modern reality. It inspires a close look at the nuclear armament. Will the creation of nuclear weapons remain a threat? Will nations with the most powerful nuclear weapons dictate the new world order?

    The reader is left with an altered worldview, and the inkling that we may not be ensconced within a comfortable cradle, after all.
     
  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Ken Kesey

    A tale of the incarceration of Randle Patrick McMurphy, a likeable loudmouth who believes himself to be wrongly institutionalized in a mental ward in Oregon, (USA) in the 1960’s.

    It is the time of America’s civil rights movement. There is change outside and inside. But, this book is more than the treatment of madness. Its key themes are human empathy, authority, and the defiance of established norm.

    Splendid reading to prepare for a degree course that needs an inquisitive and questioning mind.
     
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Garcia Marquez is widely feted as one of the finest writers from Colombia or perhaps the whole of Latin America. The book presents the tragic yet uplifting story of the Buexdia family in the fictitious Colombian town of Macondo.

    Published in 1967 it tracks seven generations of this family and their experience of war, miracles, deaths and magic. And in one family’s unique story it compresses the centuries of historical cause and effect.

    This is a great interweaving of fact and fiction from which students can learn.

     
  4. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues:Tom Robbins

    Tagged a hippie novel by many, the book covers the themes of free love, political rebellion, animal rights, drugs and religion spanning the 1950’s all the way to the 1970’s.

    What is freedom in society? The author takes a long, hard look.

     
  5. Life of Pi: Yann Martel

    The book’s movie adaptation was directed by Ang Lee and became hugely successful. The story is of a boy stranded on a life boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. On the boat, he has a zebra, a hyena, a chimp and a Bengal tiger as companions.

    In spite of the plot sounding preposterous, Martel’s incredible telling makes the tale difficult to disbelieve! The story is about Pi’s survival against the odds. Implicitly, it focuses on solitude, religion, faith as well as the relativity of truth.

    If you enjoy realism, yet hate slow moving prose, you will simply love Life of Pi with its amazing interpretations.

     
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee

    In Harper Lee’s classic novel, a black man named Tom Robinson is charged with the rape of a white girl. Tom is innocent but must suffer the iniquities of racial discrimination. The narrator is a young white girl whose father chooses to defend Tom.

    Lee explores the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the American Deep South of the 1930’s. The conscience of Maycomb is pricked with its prejudices while one man alone, Atticus Finch, the lawyer, struggles for justice. But the weight of history can only tolerate so much.

    Truman Capote wrote about this book: “Someone rare has written this very fine novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of life….”  

Do you have any books you’d love to recommend? Tell us in the comments section.

Also, here are 10 iconic books that we think will change you.

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