THE BLOG
10/16/2014 09:51 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

5 Books to Read this Semester

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If you feel the need to read something that is less intense than your textbooks but still at a higher level than a Buzzfeed list, check out my list of recommendations of books to read this semester!

1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn:
Even if you've already seen the movie (which is fantastic, by the way!), it's definitely worthwhile to check out the book as well. This past summer, I made a resolution to read a whole lot of books. And, then I proceeded to spend two and a half months of summer picking up books, reading a chapter or two, and then never getting any farther. But, then I found Gone Girl and finished it in four days. At the risk of sounding cliché, this book is so suspenseful that you literally won't want to put it down. Between Amy's cute diary entries about the early stages of her and Nick's relationship and the drama as Nick deals with Amy's disappearance, this novel will provide a nice little mental break from the daily struggle that is being a college student.

2. Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell:
I'm usually not one for nonfiction works, but this book is seriously fascinating. Gladwell goes further in-depth into famous success stories to shed a new light on what it really means to be accomplished. I loved that this book brings up the importance of practice and hard work multiple times, which can definitely serve as motivation when you feel like you can't bring yourself to spend one more night in the library. With quotes like "Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig", this book can provide some serious motivation for those midterms.

3. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
When I was eight years old, I was desperate to read anything I could get my hands on. This was probably due to not having Internet access growing up. I remember stumbling across this book, seeing illustrations, and thinking that it must obviously be a kid's book. Which it most definitely is not. I've gone back and read it at different points of my life since then. Each time I read it, I find a new quote to love or some deeper meaning I wasn't able to understand before. With quotes that mean so much more than their face value, like "It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important", any reader will likely find themselves highlighting lines and jotting down quotes because of how relevant they are. This book talks about growing up and how we can forget what it's like to have been young, making college the perfect time to read this beautifully written work.

4. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut:
This book is the perfect mix of a fun sci-fi story and a deeper look into living in the present. I'm a really big fan of Kurt Vonnegut because his story lines are different in how they combine the fantastical with the realistic; his books deal with time travel and visiting other planets but bring in human conflicts and emotions. One of my favorite quotes ever (that I've probably included at least once in my blog posts on my favorite quotes) comes from Slaughterhouse Five: "And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes."

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky:
I actually reread this book recently and appreciated it even more the second time around. It's a great throwback (Do people even use the word "throwback" without a hashtag sign anymore?) to some feelings we may have forgotten by now. Like, the feeling of having your first crush and struggling to figure out how to tell them. Or, to that feeling when you finally have a teacher that you can relate to. Or, to the memories we've blocked out, like trying to help a friend through a breakup but never being able to say the right things or just wanting the best for people who are unable to see what's best for themselves. While it's definitely nice to have grown up since high school, I think it's important to remember how it felt to be a teenager in order to really understand how parts of who we are change while others stay the same.

These are my recommendations for some books to pick up whenever you want a nice break from a hectic schedule or busy week. While checking your Facebook newsfeed and reading Buzzfeed lists can be entertaining, it's important to read something that has an actual plot line every once in a while. So, while it's easy to get caught up in the busyness that is being a college student, be sure to do something for yourself. Read a book that's not assigned, even though it can be a struggle to just read what was assigned, to take a mental break, find inspiration, or even remember feelings that you may have forgotten. So, curl up, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to get lost in a good book.