As busy college students, budgeting time to decompress after a stressful day can be difficult. However, it’s well worth it to carve out a little time to read for fun—even if it’s just for five minutes before bed each night. Reading is a great way to escape the stressors of your daily life and get lost in another world for a little while. Not sure what to read next? The Daily Duke team has compiled a list of ten books we enjoyed reading, all from different genres.
Each book is linked to its page on Goodreads, a pretty awesome website (and app!) that lets you keep track of all the books you’ve read and want to read, and gives personalized suggestions based on how you’ve rated other books. A few of our team members use it, and we really enjoy it!
Classic: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Even if you were forced to read this book by your middle school curriculum, you have to admit: it’s an astoundingly thought-provoking novel. Fahrenheit 451 is a tale set in the dystopian American future, where reading books (or doing anything else meaningful) is banned. Whether you haven’t read this book before, or it’s just been awhile, Fahrenheit 451 is worth the read—after all, it’s a classic for a reason.
Fantasy: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This was one of my favorite books growing up, but it is certainly a story that readers of all ages can enjoy. A mix between sci-fi and fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg Murry on a wild adventure to rescue her father from a different planet. Almost exciting as the story itself, the movie comes out in two weeks—just enough time to read the book first!
Fiction: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
If you like switching between intricately crafted storylines, this book is for you. Set during World War II, All The Light We Cannot See follows the various trials of young protagonists Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig. This is one of the most beautifully-told stories I have ever read, and is perfect for those who enjoy thoughtfully-written fiction with a historical basis, and traces of mystery, suspense, and adventure.
Historical Fiction: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
Daily Duke editor Michelle Mullins says: “For fans of historical fiction, this book is a treat. Set in the late 19th century, it tells the story of impressionist painter Auguste Renoir painting his famous work, Luncheon of the Boating Party. The painting includes many of Renoir’s close friends and chapters are told from their perspectives. The best part? The book is fiction based on facts, so all of the characters in the book really did pose for the painting! The painting is currently located in The Phillips Collection in D.C. and I’m sure after reading the book, you’ll want to stop by and see it in person!”
Mystery: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
After being made into a movie in 2014, this novel has become increasingly popular. If you haven’t read it yet, you should! You will enjoy the close attention to detail Gillian Flynn paid as she wrote Gone Girl. The story focuses on the lives of married couple Nick and Amy Dunne, and is full of unexpected twists and turns—leaving you wondering what really happened to Amy after her mysterious disappearance.
Nonfiction: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This was truly an incredible read. When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir written by a brilliant, terminally-ill neurosurgeon. Paul Kalanithi ponders many questions in his book, and wrestles with the meaning of life once he realizes his will soon be taken from him. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy, this should be the first book on this list you read.
Poetry: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Daily Duke member Carrie Chang says: “The Sun and Her Flowers was a quick read but it was really enjoyable. The poetry is raw and real, and the accompanying sketches and drawings are visually engaging and add an artistic element. You’ll definitely be quoting some of the poems.”
Romance: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Daily Duke editor Michelle Mullins says: “I’m a big fan of Pride and Prejudice, but getting through the book was tough for me (old English is definitely not light reading). Eligible is one of my favorite novels because it’s a modern retelling of P&P! If you like classic love stories but want something that’s a little easier to read and digest, this book is for you. Also, I think the book is even more enjoyable if you already know the story. So I suggest watching P&P (there are a few different versions of it as a movie) or taking a swing at reading the original before picking up Eligible!”
Self Help: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… by Richard Carlson
As someone who stresses about every minute detail of her life, this book helped me gain some perspective. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff has several short chapters that focus on situations that many people encounter in their lives, and offers advice on how to approach them in a positive, productive manner. This book is good for someone looking for a quick, uplifting read to help shift their outlook on day-to-day frustrations.
Science Fiction: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Daily Duke member Stephen Abramowitz says: “Flowers for Algernon was required reading in my elementary school, and it was the first instance where everyone in my class was awestruck. The tale of Charlie Gordon is one that all humans can connect with. In his journey to learn and grow he is confronted by the truths of the world. It forces the question of whether it is best to live in blissful ignorance, or a harsh reality.”
Let us know in the comments which book is next on your list, Dukes!