10 Books I Brought To College (and why)

Here’s a fun fact: this building in the cover photo is one I go into almost every day for classes. Another fun fact: it looks way cooler in the picture.

College move-in day was one of panic and chaos (and, dare I say it, pandemonium). My family told me I could bring 5 books with me, tops. So naturally I smuggled in 10. And here they are:


1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy. I think I’m the last person in the bookish community to hop on the Leigh Bardugo train. Leigh Bardugo is an awesome name, though. If I had that name I’d have like, 10x the amount of self-confidence that I have now. Also, the cover is gorgeous. I’m pretty sure I bought this before her book Six of Crows came out and honestly it’s just been gathering dust. The Veronica Roth blurb on the cover didn’t really help either since I never read Divergent….i’m so sorry. Also, “unlike anything I’ve ever read” is like the equivalent of not knowing what to say about something and calling it “interesting”. So I brought this with me because I really want to read the Six of Crows duology. I know the general consensus of the Grisha Trilogy is “good but not as good as Six of Crows”  but I’m making myself read this trilogy before SoC. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know why.


2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (goodreads)

Let me start off by saying I have a big book problem. Not a big “book problem” (though that is arguably also true), but a “big book” problem. I love big books. I will buy books  without even knowing what they’re about if they’re over 800 pages. The Nine Lives of Chloe King is a good example. So is Anna Karenina. (I thought I could read it in a month for a high school project. That was a terrible mistake. Don’t do what I did.) A Little Life is difficult to summarize because its synopsis is incredibly vague. It’s about four college students in New York who become friends, and one of them has a mysterious secret. That’s really all I could glean from the back cover. However, this book has excellent reviews. It’s got 4.26 stars. It has an award. It has a cool cover. It will make me look so smart every time I hold it in public.  How could I not bring it with me?


3. Romeo and/or Juliet by Robert North (goodreads)

Shakespeare’s plays weren’t meant to be read. They were meant…to be played.

This book is so cute. It’s a great book to read if you need to feel better, or if you’ve been angry with Shakespeare all these years for (spoiler alert:) killing off his two main characters. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book with so many different endings. And most of them are hilarious:


This book is so good for busy college students who don’t have time to read but still want to. Pick up this book, get to one of the endings, and voila you’ve read a story in under 10 minutes. Perfect.


4. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (goodreads)

Battle Royale has such a cool premise. If any of you have played/watched Dangan Ronpa, this is basically what it is. A class of high school students are stranded on a deserted island and are being forced to kill one another until there is only one left. Which also sounds very Hunger Games-y, except instead of 12 participants, there are 41. And I have a feeling based on the violent cover that it’s not gonna end with two winners. This is another case of the Big Book ProblemTM . I think my thought process was to bring the biggest books I had, so I could get the most reading possible out of just 10 books.Though I haven’t gotten to this book yet, so…that probably wasn’t the best idea. Oh well.


5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (goodreads)

I need to read this series. It’s like the #1 book on booklr. There are quotes and character moodboards everywhere and I understand none of it. I definitely remember buying this book because it seemed interesting, but now it’s just like a looming presence hanging above me whenever I go to a bookish part of social media. It’s insane. It haunts me. (Also, a kind of unpopular opinion: I don’t like the book cover. At all.) For those of you like me, aka you haven’t read it yet either, this is what it’s about: This girl named Blue Sargent can see the dead ever since a mysterious guy named Gansey approaches her. He’s a part of the Raven Boys, along with three others. Blue is swept into their world of fancy schools and general being-richness and begins to like Gansey, but was warned that she will be the cause of her true love’s death. Spooky. I pretty much just brought this with me to force myself to read it. It hasn’t happened yet. But it will. And I will probably love it.


6. The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath (goodreads)

Sylvia Plath is, by far, my favorite poet. Her words are so raw and personal and all her poems are just so good. Her feelings and meanings are always clear to me. (If there’s anything I hate, it’s cryptic poems.) I’m not sure if you can tell by the picture, but I have little blue tabs sticking out that I stick to my favorite poems and trust me, there are a lot of blue tabs in there. I never get bored reading Plath’s works, and it’s nice to read (and reread) from time to time. I carry it around campus a lot. Plus, it comes in handy if I ever need outside sources for my essays.


7. Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (goodreads)

I have a lot of books on this list that deal with very deep and very real issues. This book is not really one of them. It’s about a woman who spills all her deepest, darkest secrets (like not knowing what NATO is) to a man on a plane, and then it turns out he’s the new CEO of the company she works for. I brought this book with me in case I needed a fun and lighthearted read, which Sophie Kinsella does extremely well. I’ve read her Shopaholic series and I’ve loved them. They’re hilarious. Hopefully so is this one.


8. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (goodreads)

This is a book that I want to read just so say that I’ve read it. It’s on so many people’s TBR lists (including mine) but not a lot have actually read it. I want to be ahead of the crowd for once. (Is that how that saying goes? It sounds right. It’s fine) I brought this book to college essentially for the same reason I brought The Raven Boys: to force myself to read it. For those of you, like me, who’ve had this book on their TBR long enough to forget what it’s about, here’s a synopsis: Shadow has been in prison for 3 years. Just days before he’s released, his wife and best friend are killed. Feeling lost, he accepts a job from a stranger (named Mr. Wednesday, which is a pretty rad name) after his release. Shadow basically becomes Wednesday’s butler, and makes some weird relationships with some weird people. Which sounds cool, right? Except the main character’s name is Shadow, so the entire time I’m reading it I’ll be picturing Shadow the Hedgehog.



9. Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (goodreads)

I am fascinated by the origins of fairy tales, mostly because they’re so much darker than everyone expects them to be. There’s 625 pages worth of those kind of stories in here (which is a lot), ranging from The Little Mermaid to lesser known stories like The Bronze Pig. And, as a bonus, there’s a ton of beautiful illustrations. Like with Romeo and/or Juliet, it’s nice to read a little story if you’re having a busy day in college.


10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (goodreads)

To nobody’s surprise, I’ve saved the biggest for last. I’ve attempted to read this so many times. I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and I think I’ve built up my expectations so much that no matter how good it is, it’s going to be a disappointment. Like with most of Murakami’s books, it’s based around magical realism; a girl in the year 1984 notices weird quirks in the world around her and realizes that she somehow ended up in a parallel world, which she calls 1Q84. Meanwhile, a writer becomes so entranced in the book he’s writing that his own life starts to unravel. I’m afraid to read it. It sounds so good and I’m afraid it won’t be. But like with the majority of the books on this list, I’ve brought it to serve as a constant reminder that I 1) still haven’t read it and 2) really need to read it.

That’s the list! Comment below with some of your books you want to/have brought to college with you or any books that you’re intimidated to read. Have you read any of the books on my list? Are they good? (I really hope so).


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