If you are just starting your first year in college, or if you are preparing for this experience next year, trust me, you have much to look forward to. Not only will you be experience an independence of sorts for the first time in your life, you'll me meeting new friends, living in a new town or city, and just generally coming into your own. For those of you who are bookworms, college will be the best time of your life. Even if you are more interested in contemporary fiction, here are some classic books typically assigned your freshman year of college to look forward to. Although they were written in a different era, they still resonate for many.
Although Huckleberry Finn may not sound like the most appealing book, it's packed with adventure, humor, and perfectly encapsulates the urges and
desires of a young adolescent trying to make sense of a confusing adult world. It tells the tale of a runaway young boy, Huck, who encounters a fugitive slave named Jim. Through their travels together, Huck realizes that much of what he's been told by adults growing up is wrong. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the perfect coming of age story that every college freshman can relate to.
Walden is one of those books that can be difficult to get into if you don't approach it with the right mindset. The book is a compendium of reflections by Henry David Thoreau, who purposely isolated himself from society and lived in the woods to try and understand himself and the world that he lived in. The first time I picked up this book I was in high school, and I found it unbelievably dull. Then I read it my first year in college for a freshman seminar about environmental literature. There's no other way to describe it—it just came to life for me. One of my favorite quotes:
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."
Walden, more than just assigned reading, really makes you think about what's most important in life.
You've probably encountered Romeo and Juliet in high school courses, and maybe you've even already read Othello. But one thing you should know going into college is that Othello is a favorite among college professors. I personally was assigned Othello in four different classes throughout my time in college. The thing about Othello is that you notice something new every time you read it. The story itself has so many twists and turns that I won't go into here, but you've got a love story, a war story, suspense, thriller, everything wrapped into one. And, the best part is that Othello has arguably one of the worst, most evil villains in literature—Iago.
Of course, this is far from being an exhaustive list of classics you'll be assigned in college. And if you they aren't assigned to you, check these out, and others on the National Association of Scholars list to further diversify and deepen your reading list. Good luck!