Books worth reading before the semester starts

By Josephine Lee–

If there’s one thing summer is good for, it’s catching up on all the fun things you were too busy to do during the school year. You can watch everything that has been stored in your TiVo for the past few months, you can finally read the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, since school got in the way before you could finish the series, and you can become a more than a few shades darker lying by the pool for hours on end. The Louisville Cardinal has compiled a list of books that are perfect for summer and great for anybody in college.

“The Happiness Project”

by Gretchen Rubin
Though this book is a self-labeled “self-help” book, this book is actually not as preachy and self-absorbed as you would expect. The book chronicles a year in the life of the author after she has an epiphany on a city bus. She tests out whether lessons from pop culture and wisdom passed down from one generation to the next can help her be a happier person and reflects on those results in a witty voice. What she finds is surprising and may even inspire you to start your own happiness project.

The Freshman 50″
by Carly A. Heitlinger
Although this book is geared toward freshmen, this is a great read for even those fifth-year seniors. This book, described as “part memoir, part survival guide,” chronicles one student’s journey through her first year in college. Heitlinger compiles a list of everything she wishes she’d known before entering college. For those no longer in college: perhaps this book will remind you of your own freshmen year.

“The Sun Also Rises”
by Ernest Hemingway
Remember in high school when you hated assigned reading? A lot of people didn’t enjoy reading Hemingway in high school mainly because it was assigned work, but I’m willing to bet that Hemingway becomes a lot more enjoyable when you’re reading for fun. Critics say “The Sun Also Rises” is what established Hemingway as one of the preeminent writers of the time. This novel tells the story of American and British exiles who travel from Paris to Pamplona to experience the running of the bulls. On the surface, this is a love story, but Hemingway twists in themes of betrayal, renewal and resiliency and describes the angst of the “lost generation.”

“The Overachievers”
by Alexandra Robbins
There is a new cult that is sweeping the nation and that is overachieving middle and high schoolers. Robbins explores how schools are no longer just places of learning, but places of strategizing in order to make it into the fiercely competitive world of college admissions. Students aren’t being characterized by their character or interests, but rather by their scores and statistics. This book follows seven students from her alma mater and discovers how a high-stake competitive society has caused educational growth to spiral out of control.

“The Art of Racing in the Rain”

by Garth Stein
Everybody knows that one of man’s best friends walks on four legs and that compassion can come from dogs, too. This book, told from the point of view of a dog, recounts his owner’s life story. Enzo, a lab-terrier mix, is the faithful supporter to his owner Denny, who risks his life savings and his life to be a big shot professional racer. The story, though over-the-top, features a very likable narrator and uses a canine to teach the reader about what it means to be human.

All books, except for “The Freshmen 50,” can be found in local bookstores. “The Freshmen 50” is only available on the Kindle or Nook.

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