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Approximately 43 million adults in the United States display low levels of literacy skills. One of the best ways to develop excellent literacy and comprehension skills is by reading fiction books. Therefore, several universities across the world have now introduced fiction into the curriculum.
Continuing reading during the later stages of education can also contribute to excellent memory and enhanced critical thinking & analytical skills. These traits can enhance professional development and performance in the work environment.
Thus adding some fiction to reading lists can be an excellent catalyst to personality growth. Here are 5 excellent fiction books to read that every college student needs to add to their list!
#1. Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood follows the story of protagonist Toru Watanabe. Toru is a young man who is psychologically & emotionally weak by the suicide of his friend Kizuki.
Toru falls in love with Kizuki’s girlfriend, Naoko, who is a prisoner to her mind. When she gets into a psychiatric facility, he promises to wait for her.
However, as time passes, he falls in love with Midori, who is free and without inhibitions, much like how Toru wishes to live his life. Tragedy strikes when Naoko kills herself, and Toru is consumed with a sense of immense guilt.
While dealing with his grief and depression, Toru reaches out to Midori and establishes a connection with her. No wonder, why this is among the best books to read.
#2. Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment is one of the best books to read, and college students can add to their reading list. The book discusses themes such as-
- The ‘Superman’ ideal
The protagonist Raskolnikov considers himself superior to the people surrounding him and cannot relate to anyone. The crimes committed result in an increase in his intense guilt.
- Psychological traits inherent in criminals
The book emphasizes the psychology of criminals. While the crime is committed in the beginning, the punishment is served in the epilogue. The book makes multiple suggestions, such as the stress of avoiding punishment is much worse than the actual punishment.
- Alienation from society
The book’s protagonist Raskolnikov considers himself an extraordinary human being above the moral rules of humanity. This value of self results in alienation from society.
A philosophical concept developed between the 1850s and 1860s in Russia and Europe, which talked about emotional concerns, and familial & societal bonds. The book strongly emphasizes strict materialism and the belief that there is no “soul” or “mind” beyond the physical world.
#3. Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist
This is among the best fiction books to read that has been translated into 56 different languages. The story follows protagonist Santiago’s journey from Spain to Africa.
Santiago leaves behind his former shepherd lifestyle to pursue a physical and spiritual exploration of the purpose of his life. The novel is grounded in the landscapes of the journey of Santiago.
Throughout his adventures, Santiago discovers everything he needs to know about-
- His ‘Personal Legend’ – Personal Legend refers to any individual’s passion in life and what they deem to be the purpose of their existence.
- His relationship with nature.
- ‘Inner realization’ and its connection to hope.
This book is an inspiration to millions of people around the world as it urges them to discover their dreams and personal legends. A simple line from this book that conveys its theme is as follows-
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
#4. Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ discusses several life lessons of respecting people and elders. Brought to life by protagonist Jean Louise (“Scout”) Finch, the story covers a wide range of essential societal themes. These include racism and the bending of gender norms.
The book is based on Harper Lee’s childhood and sheds light on significant segregation issues in the community. One of the many reasons why this book is among the best fiction books to read is its relatability despite the time it is set in (around the 1930s).
The pragmatic conversations replete in this book are easy to follow. Each character is archetypal and designed to instill specific emotions in readers.
#5. Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is a fun read with subtle undercurrents highlighting the difficulty of choosing from competing value systems. A sharp light is shed on personal desires versus moral imperatives & social demands.
In all of the conflicts Jane Eyre faces, she is keen to allow the demands of one value set to smother the other. Every situation she faces tests her ability to decide which principle matters the most.
This is a book that also emphasizes passionate self-expression. Bronte illustrates that passion and desire are key to living a fulfilled life.
- There are several noted benefits to inculcating reading fiction into the curricula of universities across the world.
- Developing a habit of reading fiction can contribute significantly to the growth of soft skills such as communication and motivation.
- Designing a reading list keeping in mind the above books to read can be a great way to incorporate reading excellent fictional works into the daily routine.
That’s all we have for you in this blog. You can share your thoughts with us by reaching out to us or dropping a comment below!
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Q1. When was ‘Jane Eyre’ written & published?
Answer – ‘Jane Eyre’ was written and published in 1847.
Q2. Is Harper Lee’s novel based on a true story?
Answer – While not directly based on a true story, Harper Lee’s novel has several references to her childhood, set in the town of Maycomb (Alabama).
Q3. What is a recommended non-fiction book to add to college students’ reading lists?
Answer – Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is a great book for college students.