Written by: Sophie Archambault
As I rapidly approach my college graduation, I’ve been reflecting on the past four years. Thanks to covid and transferring schools mid-pandemic, my college road has been rocky; despite this, I’ve taken some great classes and read some truly incredible books. As an English major, I love reading, but I don’t always love the required readings assigned in school. In fact, I’ve read some books I truly hate (please, nobody say the title Heart of Darkness to me ever again). But I’ve also been introduced to some books that have earned a place on my list of all-time favorites. So, here are the five best books I read in college (which you should all read too):
- The Circle by Dave Eggers
I read this novel for a class called “American Utopias and Dystopias” and it freaked me out. It’s definitely not a relaxing read, however, it does make you think about how far technology has advanced in our world today and whether or not that’s a good thing.
- Dawn by Octavia Butler
This is another dystopian story, in which the protagonist, Lilith, finds herself in the custody of an alien species who want to procreate with humans. Butler’s Dawn is especially relevant for the current time as reproductive rights and freedoms continue to be restricted.
- Passing by Nella Larsen
I love to read about complicated female friendships and that is exactly the basis for Larsen’s book. In 1920s Harlem, the lives of Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield become irreversibly intertwined as they navigate blurred racial boundaries. I would definitely recommend reading it before watching the Netflix adaptation!
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Even if you haven’t read Jane Eyre, you’ve probably heard of the “mad woman in the attic.” Rhys’s book is from the point of view of that mad woman, Rochester’s first wife. I hated Jane Eyre and its treatment of this character, so I loved that Rhys gave her a voice and agency with this prequel.
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Last but not least, I read Mrs. Dalloway for a class on the modern novel my junior year and was so taken by the narrative style that it had to have a place on this list. The events of the novel occur over one day and the omniscient narrative voice moves seamlessly between characters, almost like a movie camera that follows one person down a street before picking up on someone standing on the sidewalk. It’s not the easiest read, but definitely worth putting the time into.