A College Student’s Summer Reading List
by Maria Minsker | Cornell University
Finals are over and school is out for most college students, so it’s time to dive into a summer of traveling, hitting the beach, working, interning or parking yourself in front of the television for two months. Wherever summer 2012 takes you, here are a few must-read books that you should grab off the shelf and buy; or, if you’re all tech-y and modern, click on and download.
Home, by Toni Morrison
Home follows the story of Frank Money, a depressed, jaded Korean War veteran who returns to a racist America that he doesn’t recognize. Forced to face not only the reality of returning to a torn nation, but also helping his medically-abused, ailing sister, Frank has no time to deal with his own emotional damage and find himself again. He decides to take his sister back to their hometown in Georgia, a place he has hated all his life. But when he sees his home with new, post-war eyes, he realizes that he possesses a newfound courage and sense of self. Beautifully written as are all Morrison’s novels, Home does not disappoint.
Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
The sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire picks up where the first installment leaves off. Katniss Everdeen has (spoiler alert!) won the Hunger Games and shared her victor with Peeta Mellark. They won by defying the Capitol and its harsh Hunger Games rules, and their clever victory inadvertently made them the faces of a rebellion brewing against the Capitol. But rebellions don’t fly in Panem, and the Capitol is angry. Destined to be another blockbuster hit, Catching Fire is a must read, and I recommend you read it before they make the movie. And when you’re done with this one, pick up Mockingjay, the last installment of the trilogy.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you haven’t read it already, now’s the perfect time to read this American classic. Often regarded as the supreme achievement of Fitzgerald’s career, the novel tells the story of Jay Gatsby and his relationship with Daisy Buchanan, his adventures and lavish parties in Long Island during the Roaring Twenties. If you’ve already read this fantastic novel, there’s no harm in reading it again, and this time, picturing Leo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. Can you say “yum”? Catch the film adaptation in December 2012.
A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful, by Gideon Lewis-Kraus
Perfect for college students eager to graduate and enter the real world, A Sense of Direction is a bildungsroman if there ever was one. A memoir, Lewis-Kraus’ story is about his many adventures: a pilgrimage across Spain on the famous El Camino de Santiago route, visits to 88 Buddhist temples on the Japanese island Shikoku, and an annual migration to the tomb of a famous Hasidic mystic in the Ukraine. Through his journey, Lewis-Kraus uncovers a family mystery and begins to piece together how the ancient past shapes our present. With a deep appreciation for the history that builds the future, Lewis-Kraus crafts a story that you won’t be able to put down.
The Girl Who Played With Fire, By Stieg Larsson
Sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire re-introduces Mikael Blomkvist as publisher of the magazine Millennium. On the eve of the publication of a major expose on a sex trafficking scandal, the journalists who worked on the article are found murdered and the murder weapon is covered in Lisbeth Salander’s fingerprints. Blomkvist is convinced that Salander is innocent, and decides to uncover the truth for himself. The book is full of thrills and mystery and is a serious page-turner. You’ll be done in no time and find yourself eager to pick up the third book in the Millenium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
What are you reading this summer?Maria Minsker is a junior English and communication double major at Cornell University. She is an aspiring journalist who loves to travel, try foreign cuisines and watch reruns of old sitcoms.