As many of us are already so aware of, college may be a mind-opening, altering, and inspiring process, but it can easily come with an overwhelming amount of text.
Although summer reading may also be a mandatory sentencing for many college students, there is no reason why you can’t find some alternative material to enjoy in your free time and keep your mind both sharp and at ease during summer vacation.
So, just what does one read for fun during their single season of freedom with so much reading assigned throughout the school year? Straight from the minds of college kids, here are some suggestions on how to feed your head this summer.
Comedic author, Christopher Moore is a modern writer with a strong cult following. His novels commonly twist an everyman character into a plot filled with the fictionally absurd and supernatural. Some critics have compared Moore’s style to that of Kurt Vonnegut. His vampire trilogy Bloodsucking Friends, You Suck, and Bite Me may at first conjure a parallel to the horrendous sensation that is Twilight, readers will be pleasantly surprised to find little connection between the two. Moore’s vampires come with a heavy dose of ironic comedy driven by a meshing of traditional and unique ideas.
A good complementary to Moore’s taste for the unusual spin on a classic prototype is the writing of Seth Grahame-Smith, whose historical fiction has reached the third spot on the New York Times’ bestseller list. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter are just two of the well-known books Grahame-Smith has put out. Other comical works include Pardon My President: Fold-and-Mail Apologies for 8 Years, a book composed of letters written by the author to various organizations to apologize for the actions of George Bush. Grahame-Smith’s books also deal with pop culture; he’s also written about the history of pornography, Spiderman, and how to survive typical horror film situations. If you’re needing comic relief between semesters, look no further.
For something a little more real but still amusing, the autobiographical works of David Sedaris are a goldmine. In his collections of essays, Sedaris recounts his unusual upbringing, family life, drug-filled college years, jobs and his education. The author’s often satirical wit is richly embedded in his writing, and while not all of the stories are necessarily upbeat, they are still humorous. Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames, have all become New York Times Best Sellers.
If you’re into asking yourself “what if,” books by Harry Turtledove also offer great venues for thought provoking, easy reading during your time off. Dubbed “The Mast of Alternate History” Turtledove has written on various hypothetical historical situations, including alien invasions during World War II, the Confederacy winning the Civil War, and survival of the Byzantine Empire.
Two more well known books by Afghanistan native, Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, have caught much attention in recent years. Hosseini grew up in the Middle East in a time of political unrest, and his family eventually sought political asylum in the United States. The Kite Runner, Hossenini’s first novel, is also set in Afghanistan and tells the story of a young boy dealing with childhood problems and a troubled relationship with his father. The novel deals heavily with political and ethnic tensions as the family moves to U.S. The Kite Runner has also been adapted to film. Hossenini’s other noteworthy novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is also filled with Afghani culture.
Students had more obscure suggestions.
The Stranger, by well-known author, Albert Camus was also recommended. Though he never outwardly considered himself an existentialist, Camus’ writings often centered on such themes of philosophy, and this example is no different. The book focuses on a seemingly irrational murder by the title character, and his narrative throughout the book is divided before and after the event.
Shantaram was another interesting suggestion. Written by a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict, Shantaram carefully describes the autobiographical, factual event through a guise of the fictitious and blurs lines. The author recounts his story of the crime and fleeing to India for 10 years and all the horrific and diverse happens that befall him.
Straight from the minds of students themselves, here’s a short list of unique books from the fantastical to the real life recollections to help break the monotony of assigned reading. Because even the biggest bookworms can get burned out during the school year.