Summer Reading List: 9 Books to Read Before College

Female student reading

The university system, as an institution, has an impact on the way society views itself. Getting involved with higher education comes as a necessity for some, a destination for others, and a daunting challenge for most. Avoiding this fear is the purpose of this and many lists of books to read before college. 

Well-read students have a statistical correlation in avoiding remedial classes going into college. Understanding materials from different disciplines and anchoring them together enhances learning. 

Ready to start a whirlwind journey through tomes of knowledge? No? No problem! This list will get you in the mood to enhance your mind.

Different-ish Books to Read Before College

Many 100 books to read before college or great books to read lists focus in an area. Some, like the Tuesday's with Morrie lists, focus on emotional intelligence and social expansion. Others, like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are aimed at life skills and challenges to be conquered. 

This list provides a few choice selections to get ahead in the direction of courses. The purpose of a classical education is to create a well-rounded person. This list of books to read the summer before college is a self-paced mini-term.

1. Soonish

Soonish is part comic book, part groundbreaking science possibilities. The wife and husband team of Kelly and Zach Weinersmith gives an accurate and engrossing look at future technologies.

The pace is leisurely, the information is thorough, and the illustrations humorous. Everything you need to talk about emerging technology trends with more than an  "I've heard of it."

2. A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

This book rounds out our science suggestions. A popular science book by Adam Rutherford explains us to us.

Ever wondered why green eyes only show up in certain parts of the world? Have you heard of that neanderthal DNA thing? Wonder why some people can't drink milk?

This book will guide you through these answers.

3. A People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn's critically acclaimed book will give you an edge before any history or humanities course. You can be the one pointing out that history was never that easy or simple.

Closing up the gap of 'history is written by the victor', this book shows the perspective of the little guy. How did the people on the ground view the events, not just the politicians and kings dictating edicts?

4. Guns, Germs, and Steel

If you don't want to get trapped in the minutiae of Zinn's work, check out Jared Diamond's rebuttal. 

Here, you will see grand scales and sweeping movements in technology and society. Interdisciplinary thought doesn't rise and die here, but it is a toehold many have experienced. 

Between these two books, you can face any humanities courses and understand the scope and impact on the world.

5. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Do you worry you won't get a job after college? Do you not have a leg to stand on in a capitalism versus communism argument? Fear not! Charles Wheelan will give you the buzzwords and jargon needed to speak about economics with aplomb.

It reads fast, it makes sense, and it gives you practical advice as well as theory. For many students, understanding the gears of the economy never gets taught but always comes into play. 

Knowing your place in the scope of earning power and future investments is a powerful thing to have early.

6. Getting Things Done

The second in our practical advice for practical people category: David Allen's guide on doing. 

This book offers valuable tips on building habits and life skills. In addition, they double as great advice for studying and course completion.

The book also explains the mentality of doers and workplaces. What it is that employers are looking for in workers.

This information is invaluable to a budding student looking to pick a career or round out a skillset.

7. The Handmaid's Tale

No, you can't just watch the recent television series as a proxy for engaging with this classic by Margaret Atwood.

Read it for yourself and know why there are studies showing results between fiction and emotional intelligence.

College challenges views on how society works and why we collectively act in opposition to individual ideas. 

Unlike the previous books, this fiction selection shows a truth that hasn't happened yet but may soon. Knowing what we fear in our fiction better arms you to stand up for what's important in our actuality.

8. Mockingbird

The final book from sometimes unknown author Walter Tevis is the mind-blowing tale of the last woman to figure out how to think. 

The answer is to stop taking drugs. The other answer is to live with an android and send your baby-daddy on an adventure.

A dystopian tale long overdue for being popular and filmed for our convenience.

If you want to avoid a bleak future where nobody does anything and everyone has given up in favor of automation, read it twice. 

9. Outliers

Turning to the world of pop psychology, Malcolm Gladwell's seminal work on how to excel.

Some articles refute the underlying concept of the 10,000-hour idea. As usual, the reality is not quite the cut and dry. However, the tips for following through on plans and building and practicing skills are solid.

Whether you agree or disagree with the underlying principle, it is a good read. And a read that will give you something to discuss with your fellow students who followed some other best books to read in college list.

Convenient Education Solutions

Even if you get through half of our list of books to read before college, you will have knowledge. What you won't have is a degree. For that, you need to take some courses and get stocked up on some credits.

Whether you intend to start college now or are getting started on some continuing education, we have something to offer. Contact us to learn more about programs offered and transferring credits.


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