If you enjoy reading, you’ll love university. It’s where you’ll learn the importance and power of thinking, knowledge, and education. Learning to think critically about what you read is a key skill that you’ll develop during your time as a student, and it’s a great skill to have for life. Here are some of our favourite books about the power of knowledge and understanding your place in the world. They’re our top books for students to read before they graduate.
1. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury wanted readers to understand the importance of reading and thinking. One of his quotes that I think sums up much of what he was saying is, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Through the novel, he asserts that passive lifestyles consumed with modern conveniences such as TVs and cars can erode culture, critical thinking, emotional fulfilment, and happiness. Find out more.
2. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
What happens when a group of young schoolboys are stranded on an island? Chaos. Golding wants to teach his readers that thinking, laws, and culture are what separate us from our animalistic tribalistic instincts. Education and knowledge allow a healthy and happy society to function. Find out more.
3. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
The most recent book on this list, Adam Kay’s book is a collection of notes secretly taken during his time as a junior doctor. The reason why this book is important is that it gives an amazing insight into medical school, the workings of the NHS, and how doctors are not trained to deal with the emotional side of hospital life. Find out more.
4. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The entire novel describes a dystopia in which intimate relationships, the ability to choose one’s destiny, and the importance of family are strictly opposed. In Huxley’s mind, however, these three principles are highly regarded as necessary for a meaningful and fulfilling existence. Huxley has a humanistic, deep and enlightened view of how society should be, and of what constitutes true happiness. Every student needs to read this book and explore the question of whether it is more important to accept things as they have always been or to fight for the things that will make you happy. Find out more.
5. This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
If the author’s name sounds familiar to you, it is probably because you heard of his famous novel ‘The Great Gatsby’. One of the books that every single college student should make a point of reading before they graduate is ‘This Side of Paradise’. The classic novel is witty and romantic as it tells the story of a Princeton student who becomes disillusioned with life after graduation. It’s hard to tell whether Amory learns more from his life inside of school or his life outside of it. Find out more.