Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Post: Collegiate Reads - Five Books to Read in Between Your College Studies

The following is a guest post by Angelita Williams.  


When I was in college, it became increasingly difficult to pull myself away from studying to be able to read a good book. During my young-adult years, I had turned into quite the avid reader, so you can imagine my frustration at the fact that I was almost too busy to read for pleasure. Though college is a busy time, there is never an excuse to completely abandon reading. Even if you are limited to reading just a few book titles a year, you should still make time to read well-written, enthralling books. If you're look for some books to read in between your studies, here are five worthy titles.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Without a doubt, Katherine Boo is one of the best writers of our time. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who focuses her writing endeavors on topics that slip beneath the cracks of mainstream media. In her first book – Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Boo makes her way to Annawadi, a make-shift settlement near Mumbai, India and documents the lives of various citizens living in this rundown, destitute society. It's a gut-wrenching story that focuses on the role of gender, religion, caste, power, and envy in India's growing competitive economic and technological age. This book is not for the faint of heart, but is certainly worth experiencing, especially for those who have an interest in sociology, religion, innovation, and world issues.

Interpreter of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri – the author of Interpreter of Maladies – is a writer every reader should be exposed to at least once. She has a myriad of wonderful books, but Interpreter of Maladies is by far her best. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000, and it's absolutely no surprise why. In Interpreter of Maladies, readers are introduced to the lives of Indians and Indian Americans in modern-day U.S. culture. Through a series of nine short stories, Lahiri makes us experiences the lives of different eclectic characters who are each coping with various societal obstacles, inner struggles, and cultural disadvantages. It's a book that puts you in the shoes of dozens of characters that you can't help but feel a sincere attachment to. That's the art of Lahiri's writing though.


Penelope is probably the best book I've read all year. It's the story of a girl named Penelope who ventures off to Harvard University to study English and must encounter the social hierarchy of the most prestigious university in the world. Penelope is written by Rebecca Harrington, a Huffington Post writer who studied at Harvard University during her undergraduate days. Naturally, the book is largely autobiographical; Harrington admits to be extremely socially awkward. Indeed, Penelope is one of the most painstakingly awkward literary characters you'll ever encounter: a girl who speaks her mind and never really thinks much about the consequences of doing so. At Harvard, Penelope sticks out like a sore thumb and must come to terms with the pros and cons of being ostracized from the social elite. Prepare to laugh uncontrollably.

The Silver Linings Playbook

You may have heard of The Silver Linings Playbook, due to the fact that it was recently adapted into a blockbuster film that will come out later this fall. I picked up this great book about a year ago and fell in love with it. The book follows the life of Pat Peoples, a former history teacher who has just been released from a mental institution after four years and is sent to live with his mother and father. Upon returning home, Pat becomes set on rekindling his marriage with his estranged wife, who unsurprisingly wants nothing to do with Pat. Refusing to accept this, Pat dedicates his time to becoming a man she'll want to come running back to. Matters only grow increasingly difficult when Tiffany, an unstable widow friend, develops a crush on Pat. The Silver Linings Playbook is both a heartfelt and comedic read that will have you rooting for Pat the whole time, hoping that love and faith is enough to overcome mental instability.

The Casual Vacancy

I'll be honest: I haven't read this book yet, so I'm not sure what to expect. However, being that it is J.K. Rowling's first literary transition from the Harry Potter series, I'd say it's worth a read. The early reviews of this book aren't all that great, but I expected just as much. It's hard to top a remarkable phenomenon like Harry Potter, so I sense we're going to have to cut Ms. Rowling some slack in The Casual Vacancy. I can't wait to see what Rowling has put together, even if the book has no mention of a remarkable wizard named Harry.

Reading should never be put on the backburner, even in busy college days. Should you find yourself with some free time in between your studies, see if you can page your way through these five book titles.


About the Author:  Angelita Williams is a freelance writer and education enthusiast who frequently contributes to She strives to instruct readers on how to enrich their personal lives and professional careers. Angelita welcomes you to contact her at if you have any questions or comments.


  1. I'm making a concerted effort to ignore A Casual Vacancy for as long as possible.

  2. Absolutely loved Interpreter of Maladies - beautiful yet difficult. Casual Vacancy was really well done, depressing as hell, but well done!