Books About College Students

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Psychologists have claimed that the most pivotal time of our lives occurs between the ages of twenty to thirty. Our college years are a preparation for this important time, and perhaps that is why so many writers have written about college life. The books listed below are works of fiction; yet, the influence of the college years is unmistakeable.

1. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh Oxford University is the springboard of many distinguished scholars. This classic story is narrated by a young undergraduate student who is befriended by a young aristocrat. This young man introduces the protagonist to his eccentric set of friends. As the story proceeds, the lives of the two students intersect.

2. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald This renowned author has set his first novel in the famous Princeton University. The story traces the protagonist’s journey through university, detailing his various romantic encounters. He enlists for service when World War I breaks out. When he returns, he meets a debutante, but is confronted with the class barrier.

3. Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz This is the story of a woman employed as an admissions officer. When it is time to screen applications, readers get to see how the system works. This particular admissions officer has some past issues that she has to deal with.

4. The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy The author has based the institution in her book on her own alma mater, Bard College. Her perception is that academics share some undesirable traits and students can get trapped in intellectual entanglements.

5. Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe This witty satire is set in the fabled environs of Cambridge, albeit in a fictitious college. The master has died without naming a successor. Porterhouse Blue refers to a stroke brought on by eating the good food provided by the college.

6. Picture From an Institution by Randall Jarell The story tells of a progressive women’s college which has an aura of intellectual arrogance and pretensions.

7. Joe College by Tom Perrotta Spring break is when college students party hard. But this junior at Yale is helping out his father who runs a lunch truck. This book has large doses of humour.

8. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides Three seniors are studying semiotics at Brown University in the 1980s. The plot follows their situations after they graduate, focussing on their love lives.

9. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach This story is set in a fictitious college in USA. The main character is a baseball star. There are four other characters and the story reveals how the paths of their lives cross.

10. The Secret History by Donna Tartt In an elite college, a group of students is studying Classical Greek. They greatly admire their professor, and are very different from their peers. Then they start doing things differently, sometimes shockingly so.

11. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan This collection of stories and essays has a tragic back story. The author was a student at Yale University, and she died in a car accident soon after she graduated in 2012. In this book she has touched upon a wide range of topics, from the death of a friend to more mundane matters like why large numbers of college graduates go for careers in banking and consultancy.

12. The Big U by Neal Stephenson In this fantasy, the author has re-imagined university life. Forty thousand students attend this massive institution, which has its own government and police force. There are tribes constantly fighting with each other and the students rarely get a chance to leave.

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