If you have thought seriously about what it will take to be successful in your academic career (and in life, for that matter), you have likely realized that books play, and will continue to play, a large part in it. Books assigned by your professors (some useful, some not so much) may come to mind. But then there are those books which may not be assigned to you individually that still deserve our attention — a group I could call “good collegiate reads.” Here, I will list and briefly discuss works from three genres to consider for this group.
Religious: In “Bruchko” by Bruce Olsen, the author shares his journey of faith and how it led him to live among the then-hostile Indian tribes of the Yukos and the Motilones in the 1950s and 1960s. This story contains life events throughout the narrative that readers may consider either unorthodox, unbelievable or a breath of fresh air. As with all books, readers should maintain a critical mindset while realizing no one person has everything figured out.
Linguistic: Norman Lewis offers “Word Power Made Easy” to aid beginners through mid-level experts in the improvement of English skills. This book takes the reader back to root words to give the reader the skill of more easily identifying harder, unfamiliar words. Lewis includes a review at the end of each chapter and section, employing techniques such as matching, multiple choice and identification by definition and first letter. Lewis also adds intermission sections to tackle some mistakes common even to seasoned users of the English language.
Literature: In our ever-developing world, reflecting on classics from the world’s history seems to help us better appreciate the present. Assistant Professor of English Jonathan Singleton recommends any of Shakespeare’s works as a good place to look. As Singleton said, “He’ll add lots of layers to the way you normally look at the world.” I can personally recommend “Twelfth Night” and “The Tempest” as interesting plays to check out from the local library.
Bonus: If you feel repulsed by Shakespeare, I can also recommend anything by 20th century British author P. G. Wodehouse, who will keep you engaged in the story with a tasteful blend of humor and British life in the early 20th century. Or, if you feel like tackling something harder, the anonymous 10th century writer’s “Beowulf,” translated by Frances B. Grummere should do the trick.
Here are but a few good reads that will help to broaden and deepen your perspective of life. Even if you have read all of these, or if none of these appeal to you, the good thing about good reads is they are in plentiful supply. Find another worthwhile genre, branch out to challenge yourself, find a nice spot and time, and read to live.