The 10 Best College Books to Read (Outside of Class)

It’s hard enough to read college books in literature class without thinking about reading them once you exit the classroom. However, there are a few books that are so great that you don’t want to put them down! If you want to know what books you’re likely to enjoy both in and out of the classroom, take a look at the following 10 best reads.


the great gatsby 

1.      The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

This novel has made tons of “top 10 lists” for many decades and was even ranked second in the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century. Always found on college literature reading lists, the story of Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who makes his way east and meets the great Jay Gatsby is an interesting one that leaves readers captivated year after year. 


the catcher in the rye

2.      The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 

This very popular college read very often finds itself on bookshelves across America long after graduation. Why? Because no one can resist the story of Holden Caulfied, the 16 year old who was expelled from prep school due to his reaction to the common alienation experiences by teens. It’s definitely a hard one to resist. 


of mice and men

3.      Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The story of George and Lenny is one of two great friends who play very significant roles in each other’s lives. It tells a tale that plays out somewhat tragically in the end; however, the ride along the way is one that students who read it in class and seem to pick up again and again, long after they’re required to.


to kill a mockingbird

4.      To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

Scout and Jem’s childhood in Alabama is chronicled as we have the opportunity to be flies on the wall of their lives. We see their innocence shook and their characters shaped while they learn the reality of human nature in their time period. It’s a true page-turner, indeed. 


lord of the flies

5.      Lord of the Flies by William Golding 

This classic tale tells the story of a group of English schoolboys who find themselves on a deserted island after a plane crash. Though published in 1954, the story is still just as moving and relevant today as it was then, making it a top read inside and outside the classroom.


the adventures of huckleberry finn

6.      The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 

Virtually everyone has read this Mark Twain classic about Huck and Jim as they travel on a riveting journey. Though they meet menacing and often comedic characters along the way, a major part of what makes this a classic is Huck’s view of the world at his impressionable age. 


the grapes of wrath 

7.      The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 

This controversial novel set during the Great Depression still moves readers today as it questions justice, the role of government, power and capitalism. Taking an uninhibited look at the injustices of migration from the perspective Joad family that moved from Oklahoma to California, this book leaves readers unable to put down their books. It’s no wonder it won a Pulitzer Prize in 1940.


the scarlet letter

8.      The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 

This book offers the same level of gossip inherent in today’s reality shows, which is why it’s still so popular. Garnering a bird’s eye view of a pregnant Puritan woman in the 19th century whose husband disappears, we are endlessly entertained by this magnificent tale of adultery.



9.      1984 by George Orwell 

This story looks at the dark side of humanity by showing the possibilities of brainwashing through government control. It’s a bit disturbing at points, but what an interesting read it is! It’s definitely a college book that you will find yourself still reading as you walk out the classroom door.


great expectations

10.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

You may have already seen the movie but this won’t stop you from enjoying the novel time and time again. This humble story of the orphan Pip who dares to dream big can bring out the dreamer in anyone – especially after his dreams come true. After reading it, there’s no doubt that this story will meet your greatest expectations.

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