10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
I think most of us read Pride and Prejudice in high school, and fall madly in love with Mr. Darcy. Because HOW COULD YOU NOT?
However, I feel like readers would benefit from meeting Henry Tilney face-to-face as well. He's funny, snarky and isn't as aloof as Mr. Darcy.
Also, bonus? You get to watch JJ Feild and Felicity Jones - yes, Rogue One's Felicity Jones - duke it out on screen in the film adaptation with Carey Mulligan, when you're done.
9. Love in a Cold Climate/The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
I randomly came across a book about Nancy Mitford and her sisters in her college, and became introduced not only to their funny, crazy and extraordinary lives, but their writing as well.
(Seriously, if you have a fascination with Kick Kennedy/Evelyn Waugh, etc., get to know the Mitfords. They were EVERYWHERE. Also, Nancy's youngest sister? Owns Chatsworth.)
Anyway. Nancy was the most talented of the sisters, and wrote these funny books on what it was to be a titled member of the British elite, and how one would fall in love during World War II.
Those books had a huge impact on me as a literature major in college, and even when I lived in London. I randomly came across Nancy Mitford's blue plaque in the City, which was one of the best moments of my entire time there.
8. The Castle by Franz Kafka
I was introduced to Kafka by a professor, and I absolutely LOVED this ridiculous, fascinating book.
College students should read it because hey - Kafka, but also because it's just one of those books where you'll read it and e like "OOOH. I understand conditioning and red tape that much better."
Plus, you get to name drop Kafka in conversations. ;)
8. Old Goriot by Here Balzac
Old Goriot is one of those weird books where you read it, finish it and you're like "What just happened?"
There are many, many reasons why you should read this book. It takes place in the Bourbon Revolution. It dissects family relationships and social climbing.
But for me, it's very much the relationship between father and daughter that defines the book for me. This is one of the first books I read as an adult that emphasized just how deep family sacrifices can be.
7. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccachio
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I'm going to admit that in my slightly saucier moments, I've said things like: "Man, fifty years of solitude would have definitely been enough."
(Oh, lit nerd debates.)
However, in all honesty, reading One Hundred Years of Solitude IS a literary rite-of-passage for college students. It's a magical tale, full of drama, family intrigue and is a classical example of how magical realism influences our day-to-day lives, including standard references.
E.g. Not long after reading this book for the first time, I drove past a van that literally said, "Macondo Ice" on it. If you haven't read the book, it's just a name. But if you have read the book, well...
You'll understand why I grinned like an idiot.
5. News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
On a related note, each and every college student should read News of a Kidnapping.
Garcia Marquez built his reputation primarily on a reputation for magical realism. However, News of a Kidnapping is a fascinating, non-fiction look at the kidnappings that were perpetrated by the Medellín Cartel, and the impact across Colombia.
It's not only a great and fascinating read, but it's also an eye-opening look at real world events and the legacy of Pablo Escobar.
4. The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams
So I know that we've probably all read and loved Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but did you know that Adams's estate had his remaining work compiled in Salmon of Doubt?
It's funny, moving and inspiring, especially as you realize just how many ideas Douglas Adams had spinning around before his untimely death.
3. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
2. Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution by Dudley Weeks
This isn't fiction, but it's for all young students out there.
Some of us are natural leaders and communicators. Some of you are like me - you struggle with bypassing your introvert tendencies to be extroverted. When I see conflict, my fight or flight responses react STRONGLY.
(It's normally flight, though. I HATE conflict, and will go out of my way to avoid it. Including physically running away.)
However, the older I get, the more I realize that conflict resolution isn't something that you can avoid. You will always face it, regardless of where you are.
It's best now to learn how to manage these tough situations when they do come up, and this book helps.
1. Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
When I first watched the mini-series, I remember a fellow fan saying: "These are guys who learned how to make ordinary lives extraordinary."
Read this if you're in college, because it's not just a reminder of our Greatest Generation, but also how these people from very, very ordinary backgrounds managed to be SO extraordinary in times of chaos, and yet... went back to their lives again.
It's absolute courage under fire.