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As a college student, it can be tough to find time for reading outside of school—but 2023 may be your year to make it happen. Reading can help reduce stress, strengthen your brain and improve your vocabulary, among other benefits. Kick off the new year with some of the best books for college students.
This guide details the advantages of reading books, provides our list of the best books for college students and offers tips for making time to read in the new year.
Benefits of Reading Books
Strengthens Your Brain
A 2013 study indicates that reading may increase connections within the brain to strengthen neural pathways. Participants in the study read the same book and received daily brain scans. Brain activity aligned with the tension and release of the story itself. Perhaps more importantly, researchers reported positive short-term and long-term correlations between reading and increased connections in regions of the brain that handle movement and bodily sensations.
In short, reading may strengthen your brain by increasing and improving the pathways that allow our brains to send and receive information in the body.
Books can expose you to unfamiliar words, and even those with recognizable vocabulary can help develop your existing word bank. Reading more words and phrases can help you integrate new terms into your everyday vocabulary.
Helps With Sleep
Sticking to a consistent sleep routine, including reading before bed, has been shown to improve overall sleep health. And while the convenience of reading on your phone may seem appealing, your phone can emit blue light that may impede your ability to achieve restful sleep. Instead, grab a book or non-backlit e-reader and incorporate reading into your bedtime routine.
As a part of your resolution to read more books, setting aside electronic devices before bedtime can also improve your mental and physical health.
Keeps You Sharp
Keeping your mind active has been shown to maintain or improve mental acuity. One study assessed the rate of mental decline in older people who read books more than one time each week. The researchers’ findings demonstrated that older individuals who were readers experienced a lower risk of cognitive issues.
Most stories place you in someone else’s life. When a reader considers someone else’s thoughts, behaviors, actions and motivations, this can build a better sense of empathy. Books can help people understand characters’ feelings, which can translate to increased empathy in daily life, according to some research.
Along with your resolution to read more books in the new year, you may also resolve to foster deeper connections with your friends, family and coworkers.
Reading, like most leisure activities, helps people divert their focus away from any potential stressors in life. Research indicates that reading less stressful material—for example, a light-hearted novel versus news articles about current events—can help manage overall stress levels.
Students often experience many stressors relating to their education. As you start the new year, consider exploring some of the best books for college students as a method of stress reduction.
Along with relieving stress, reading can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Some therapists specifically prescribe books to help patients improve their mental health. Readers can look for books about mental health care or self-help, but engaging with fiction can also help with healing mental health issues.
If you aim to improve your mental health in the new year, setting aside regular time to read may help with the process.
10 Recommended Books for College Students
George Orwell’s satirical novel Animal Farm sees a group of farm animals rise up against a totalitarian human farmer to create a worker’s utopia. Like many attempted rebellions in history, in-fighting and disagreements on political goals lead to an unfortunate yet foreseeable outcome. Students exploring political revolutions may enjoy this classic novel.
Atlas of the Heart explores human emotions and the connections to our behaviors. Brene Brown’s nonfiction book considers 87 human emotions and ties them to common experiences for context purposes. Readers can use this guide to reflect on their own emotions and the actions they tie to those specific feelings. At such a pivotal time in education and life, college students may feel overwhelmed with emotions and look to this book for assistance.
Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment examines alienation and morality—two key themes for college students. The book’s main character, a former student, plots the killing of an older neighbor who possesses many valuable items, planning to enrich himself and join the upper strata of accomplished wealthy men. As the events unfold, he becomes confronted with the mental anguish related to his deed and its consequences.
East of Eden, a novel about two intertwining families and their struggles with morality, loss and life, is an ideal book for college students. Set against the backdrop of World War I, Steinbeck uses California’s Salinas Valley as a divider between vice and virtue. This book explores human themes such as love, loneliness and family, which individuals may experience more acutely in their young adult years.
In Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, the Berglund family struggles with infidelity and adolescent rebellion. The story spans several years, with the son Joey later attending University of Virginia. The family, including their daughter, drift apart throughout the book due to several circumstances. Thematically, Freedom explores the way families and individuals change during crucial periods of their lives.
Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, originally written in Portuguese, details a young man named Santiago’s quest to locate an Egyptian treasure after envisioning it in a dream. College students may associate with the lead character’s pursuit to leave home and embark on a journey. Along the way, Santiago learns to value his experiences, spirituality and interactions with others, rather than the material prize.
The Nickel Boys, a novel by Colson Whitehead based on true events, takes place at a reform school during the Jim Crow-era in America. Alternating between the events that took place at the school in the 1960s and those events’ present-day repercussions, the book details racist violence and abuse perpetrated upon young students. If you’re interested in looking into America’s history of racist violence against Black citizens, consider reading this story of redemption and perseverance.
In Allison Larkin’s coming-of-age novel the People We Keep, a 16-year-old girl flees her family in search of a new home and meaning. As an ideal book for college kids, the story explores the lead character’s creative impulses and the nature of identity as it relates to our home, families and upbringing. College enrollees looking for a new lease on their lives can personalize with Larkin’s story of friendships made and lost.
Charles Duhigg’s the Power of Habit is a self-help book that explores how routines affect people’s behaviors. College students looking to break bad habits or set new ones can look to Duhigg’s writing on scientific discoveries relating to human routines and the actions they can create.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, a nonfiction book by psychologist Daniel Kahneman, splits human decision-making processes into two categories: quick, emotional choices and logical, calculated decisions. Kahneman explores why humans may make types of decisions in certain scenarios, including our biases and ability to respond to external factors.
Tips for Finding Time to Read as an Online Learner
Schedule Reading Time
Students can benefit from forming habits. If you remain consistent with a scheduled reading time every day, you will begin to see positive outcomes that reinforce the habit. Remain flexible, but try to set a specific time to read every day—even if it’s only for 15 to 30 minutes.
Capitalize on Weekends
You can still socialize on the weekends and get some reading in. Before heading out with your friends at night, try to spend some time with a good book. Consider starting a book club with your friends that meets on the weekend; the weekly deadline might motivate you to get your reading done.
Always Have a Book With You
Keeping a book in your bag allows you to read at unexpected downtimes. Developing a habit of bringing a book with you can help you avoid distractions like social media as well.
Audiobooks open the door to reading experiences for people who may not have the time to sit down and read attentively. With audiobooks, readers can listen along while completing chores, exercising or commuting.
Invest in an E-Reader
An e-reader offers much more convenience than a single book and limits you from carrying one book at all times. Students can also download prescribed reading for classes without having to lug around multiple books for different classes each day.
- House of Cotton by Monica Brashears (April 4) ...
- Bad Cree by Jessica Johns (January 10) ...
- The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi (February 14) ...
- Big Swiss by Jen Beagin (February 7) ...
- The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson (February 7)
The average person can read about 33 books a year and a speedy reader is able to read 55 books in a year. That might sound like a lot but it is not. That is a little more than one book per week.How many pages can the average college student read in an hour? ›
While a slow reader will only get through 30 pages per hour, the average person can read around 40 pages per hour. Statistics show that quick readers can even go through 50 or 60 pages in one hour.What should I read to be more educated? ›
- The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer (preferred translations by Lattimer). ...
- The Aeneid, Virgil. ...
- The Republic of Plato and/or Great Dialogues of Plato, and, The Basic Works of Aristotle, (the latter edited by McKeon). ...
- On The Sublime, Longinus. ...
- The Holy Bible.
1. The Holy Bible: The Holy Bible is considered the most read book in the world. The Holy Bible is the holy book of Christians.What is the number 1 book in the world 2022? ›
|1||It Ends With Us||Simon & Schuster|
|2||Verity||Hachette Book Group|
|3||Where the Crawdads Sing||Penguin Group Usa|
|4||It Starts With Us||Simon & Schuster|
There are 52 weeks in a year, meaning you need to read about two books a week if you want to read 100 books in the year. This amounts to an average of 3.5 days to read each book. This may sound daunting, but remember, some books will be shorter and only take a day or two to read.How many books can I read in a year if I read 30 minutes a day? ›
A person who reads at an average pace for 30 minutes every day will get through 33 books in a year. Here are some benefits of reading 30 minutes a day.Is reading 50 books in a year a lot? ›
Avid readers are the type who can read roughly a book a week. It's easy to imagine these super readers as being speed readers. However, you can read 50 books per year even if you aren't particularly fast. It doesn't require a massive time commitment, either.Is reading 100 pages in 3 hours good? ›
Answer: the average reader takes about 2.8 hours to read 100 pages. You might take more or less time than 2.8 hours to read 100 pages, depending on your reading speed and the difficulty of your text. The average person's reading speed is around 300 words per minute (WPM).
THE AVERAGE READER can read a book at 200 words per minute (WPM). That's about 4.5 hours to read a 200-page book (55,000 words). By increasing your reading speed to 600 words/ minute, you could read a 200-page book in 90 minutes.What is the average college reading level? ›
you are ready to practice reading faster. The average college student reads about 350 words per minute. A "good" reading speed is around 500 to 700 words per minute, but some people can read a thousand words per minute.What books are in high demand right now? ›
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Paperback) ...
- Twisted Series 4 Books Collection Set (Twisted Love, Twisted Games, Twisted Hate & Twisted Lies) ...
- A Thousand Splendid Suns (Hardcover) ...
- The Secret History (Paperback) ...
- The Book Thief (Hardcover) ...
- King of Wrath (Kings of Sin, #1)
7 majors for students who enjoy reading, writing and researching
- Sociology. ...
- Communication. ...
- Psychology. ...
- Philosophy. ...
- History. ...
- English. ...
"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Anne Frank. "1984" by George Orwell. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling.What is the most sold book ever? ›
- #1 – Don Quixote (500 million copies sold) ...
- #2 – A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold) ...
- #3 – The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold) ...
- #4 – The Little Prince (142 million copies sold) ...
- #5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (107 million copies sold)
According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed. Sales estimates for other printed religious texts include at least 800 million copies for the Qur'an and 190 million copies for the Book of Mormon.What is everyone reading now 2022? ›
- A Heart That Works.
- All the Lovers in the Night.
- All This Could Be Different.
- An Immense World.
- Ancestor Trouble.
- Animal Joy.
- Anna: The Biography.
Yesterday was the first day of the Lunar New Year 2023, the Year of the Rabbit.What is the theme for World Book Day 2023? ›
The theme for this World Book Day follows the message "You Are a Reader," and there will be a focus on reaching children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The World Book Day organisation will be working with schools and nurseries to distribute gift vouchers to ensure that all children can have a book of their own.