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Prepping for a brave new world: 5 books for students starting college

books Updated: Aug 09, 2016 21:01 IST

Our carefully-curated list of five books for those who are or will begin their first year at college this season.

Do you know anyone who has just started college? There must be a lot going on in their lives – an entirely new institute, meeting strangers, the pressure to fit in, battling new courses and the uncertainty of how to handle the new-found freedom.

It may be difficult to reach out to them but you can always help them in little ways. We suggest you recommend them to read these five books that deal with issues much similar to what they are going through.

The Vegetarian

Author: Han Kang

Translator: Deborah Smith

First published: 2007

Awards: Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2016

Experiencing the relative liberty college offers often means questioning, and even rejecting, tradition and family conventions. Protagonist Yeong-hye goes through this same experience when she decides to give up eating meat. The story may be an allegory of contemporary Korea’s power politics, but is also very relatable for anyone seeking independence from an authoritative figure.

Read: 4 reasons for you to pick up George Orwell’s 1984 again

The Rachel Papers

Author: Martin Amis

Published: 1973

It might be far from a new release, but Amis’s first novel still attracts readers and re-readers today. The story follows the notes of a bright, arrogant young man as he prepares (or not) for his entrance to Oxford University. Charles, who Amis admitted was modeled on himself, writes his chronicles on subjects from how to make professors think you’re clever to his plans on seducing the eponymous Rachel. A funny, brilliantly-written novel that also acts as a gentle nudge to overly-confident young adults.

Learning to Swear in America

Author: Katie Kennedy

Published: July 5, 2016

The end of the world is coming, and the responsibility falls on 17-year old research scientist Yuri, whose professors and elders just won’t listen. While the plot might be a far reach from everyday college life, the challenges and frustrations that Yuri encounters as he tries to make himself heard and work his way through some of the universe’s biggest questions are more than relatable for students.

Read: Looking beyond Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet

The Storyteller: Tales Out of Loneliness

Author: Walter Benjamin

Published: April 5, 2016

Games, gambling and hallucinations rub shoulders in this collection of the great critic and philosopher’s short stories, published together for the first time. Students will enjoy the variety of pieces and insight into the ideas that preoccupied Benjamin, with illustrations by the modernist Bauhaus artist Paul Klee.

Heroine Complex

Author: Sarah Kuhn

Published: July 5, 2016

The first in Kuhn’s upcoming series, this comic-inspired novel is a must for any girls feeling not quite good enough for the big wide world. A fun, motivating read, the novel also marks a breakthrough as the first in a series starring Asian-American superheroines.

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