What are some good books to read before College?

I want to read as many books as i can before i leave. And i want them to be worth while


I also do not want to be bored.

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I teach English at a four-year private liberal arts university, and I must say that there are some odd responses here. First, you can't go wrong by reading as much Shakespeare as you can. However, you may have already had your "fill" of Shakespeare in high school. Here is a list of books that I would consider essential, yet also fun (or fun enough) to qualify for summer reading.

    1. Moby Dick. I agree with the previous respondent. This is a classic, and I love this book. It may be a "tough read" over summer, so I would encourage you to read it with Cliff Notes or a study guide in hand. However, once you read this book, you will find so many other books in American Literature reference Moby Dick in some fashion.

    2. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This book was voted as the best post-WWII book in a poll back in the 1970s. I would be willing to bet a siginificant amount of money that you would be asked to read this book at most any college in the U.S. and for good reason. It's actually a very exciting book to read. It's extremely well-written and will keep you turning those pages.

    3. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Or anything else by Toni Morrison. A recent poll in the NY Times selected this book as the best work of American fiction. I would argue that point, but no other recent work has established itself so quickly as an American classic. The book jumps around quite a bit (between past and present, and between different points of view), but once you get the hang of the narrative style, it is an intriguing book to read.

    4. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Virginia Woolf is another author whom you will inevitably come across in your college career. Mrs. Dalloway follows one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. It can be a challenging read because there are no chapter breaks, but the writing is marvelous and speaks to some essential questions of existence.

    5. White Noise by Don DeLillo. Also a recent book (1985) that is adopted by many college professors because it speaks to a "consumer society." The book is fun to read because of DeLillo's dark humor and is used by college professors to discuss postmodernism in literature. Don't worry about postmodernism--just read and enjoy the book.

    I could go on and on--if you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail me at che_rory at yahoo.com. Good luck to you and happy reading.

    Source(s): New York Times poll of best American novels--check out the May 21, 2006 article entitled, "What is the Best Work of American Fiction."
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Truth About the Drug Companies

    By Marcia Angell

    # An Accidental Woman

    by Barbara Delinsky (Simon and Schuster)

    # American Gods

    by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)

    # The Blue Piano and Other Stories

    by Carol Montparker (Amadeus Press)

    # Chasing Shakespeares

    by Sarah Smith (Atria Books)

    # Don Quixote

    by Miguel de Cervantes (Author), Edith Grossman (Translator), Harold Bloom (Introduction) (Ecco)

    # The Facts of Life

    by Graham Joyce (Atria Books)

    # The Falls

    by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)

    # Hadrian's Wall

    by William Dietrich (HarperCollins)

  • 1 decade ago

    OK, if you only have time to read a handful, i would recommend the Iliad and the Odyssey, some books by James Joyce, the Canterbury tales, Brave new would and 1984, (the last two more because they will come up a lot in conversation, not so much in class) hmm, i would make sure you have read at least one book from all the really influential authors, and movements. lets see...don't forget poetry, again, just some select ones from each of the really famous poets, you can probably find these on line. and you should familiarize yourself with Shakespeare's most famous plays.

    as hobo said, short stories are a great way to go. then you can get a feel of a writer's style without committing time to a book.

  • hobo
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I enjoy the classics and if you're looking to prepare yourself for college, classics are where it's at.

    right now I'm reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. thrilling to say the least. I'm captivated.

    The Three Musketeers

    The Great Gatsby (if you havn't already. I had an english teacher that centered her eniter class around this book)

    if you like real sappy romance crap, be sure to read Pride and Prejudice.

    if you like the more dark telling of real sappy romace crap read Wuthering Hights.

    if you like real raunchy sex read Tropic of Capricorn.

    if you're into history, I highly recommend 1421: The Year China Discovered America (amazing book. real long, but a catcher all the way through).

    A lot of college students have read The Awakening. I never have, but I wish I did. I've considered picking it up when I get a chance.

    Great Expectations is another classic that I've never read, but really really want to and most college students have. my only issue with it is that I positively loathe the author after having to read David Copperfield.

    short stories are big in college, too. for my last lit class, my favorite short story I read was The Yellow Wallpaper. chilling tale. I love the use of an unreliable narrator.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You might want to read Moby Dick. Almost every Literature Professor I have ever met has had a strange fascination with that book. Personally, I found it quite too finely detailed, and overly boring as a whole. And the ending was dissapointing. All that build up of tirelessy overwording suspense, for nothing anyone couldn't have guessed from the billions of hintings at it's ending. But, colleger Professors know best, right?

  • Eames
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It's a good idea to put a dent in the canonical classics before college. Not all of them are boring. Here are some good ones to start out with. They will leave a lasting impression:

    (1) "Into the Wild" by Job Krakauer: This story documents the adventures and fateful end to a boy who sets out alone into the wilderness with few supplies. It also tells the stories of the last people to see him before he was discovered dead.

    (2) "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers: A deaf-mute becomes the receptable for a town's worries, dreams, secrets, and fears.

    (3) "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker: Not for the faint of heart, this is the story of poverty and dark pasts.

    (4) "Loon Lake" by E.L. Doctorowe: This is the coming-of-age story of a young man who comes from nothing, but ends up a man of means.

    (5) "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver: A true contemporary classic, Kingsolver tells the tale, from many different points of view, of the disasterous unraveling of a missionary family in Africa.

    Source(s): I have an English degree.
  • 1 decade ago

    Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, any John Updike book, Stranger In a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein; Dune by Frank Herbert; The Lakehouse by James Patterson; anything by Stephen King; etc. etc.

  • 1 decade ago

    A Farewell to Arms - Hemingway

    ancient tragedies

    some Shakespeare and other British poets

    some Russian authors (Dostoievski, Tolstoi)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Door to december by Dean Koontz.A psychiatrist's daughter was kidnapped by her ex-husband years ago. When the daughter is finally found, the real fight begins. One by one the people who held her captive become mysteriously tortured and killed. Everyone is afraid the young girl will be next.

    The mystery unravels as to what happened to the young girl while she was kidnapped. The young girl, Melanie, is unable to speak, but her mother soon learns that the young girl went through extreme torture as her father used her for a rat in his experiments.

    Jim Butcher's Dresden files series(paranormal detective)

    Lous L'Amour-Reilly's Luck,The daybreakers,Galloway(western)

    Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Read the House of Seven Gables. If you can make it through that bore fest, you'll be able to manage any textbook college will throw at you.

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