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A Short List of Books to Read Before College

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 5/27/2010

College preparation will not be stressful and tiring if you know exactly how and what to prepare. Conquer your fears, love college, and all its challenge; you will only need the right wisdom and guidance. Here’s a short list of books seniors should read before entering college,read and get ahead.

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    Reading for College

    Reading makes you challenge yourself and be transformed into a better person. Reading is the best preparation before going to college. You take away from them ideals and values you may never realized you had, as well as tips on writing, taking notes, and other college success skills. College is the last, the crucial, the most important path of education that is perhaps the highest stepping stone towards success. It is one of the most prestigious and memorable parts of every student’s life that is not worth messing around. As you prepare to engulf on this crucial journey, you need to get ahead. Learn from this short list of books that a senior should read before entering college and you are good to go. You are one step ahead of the pack.

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    Meet Shakespeare and Homer

    You have probably encountered these big names back in high school but you will definitely encounter more than just their names in college. You will deal with their lives and works. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth have very intriguing and controversial plots that have set a benchmark for all other literatures. Gain knowledge of these literary masterpieces and anything you encounter will be a breeze.

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    Be Guided by the Bible

    The Bible is more than a religious armor. It would have to be the most quoted book among any, aside from being the world’s best-seller. Being familiar with verses and quotations is equivalent to gaining half of the world’s knowledge, not to mention enriching your spiritual life; you’ll need all the spiritual and therapeutic guidance available in college.

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    Perfect English with Strunk and White’s the Elements of Style

    In 1918, the book with the highest authority in the English grammar and style was born. You will have difficulty in college with dysfunctional grammar and faulty spelling. Whatever your course is, it pays to enhance your writing and language comprehension skills because you will use it even after you have graduated, all throughout your career. College is all about communication, so be prepared for it.

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    Conquer College with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

    Knowledge in this book is not just applicable for wars; it is applicable to life in general. According to Sun Tzu, winning a war is 90% planning and strategizing and 10% action. Use the knowledge you gain from this book in your hectic and gruesome college life ahead. An advanced tip: always plan ahead.

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    Writing and Taking Down Notes to Enhance Learning

    Gary Provost's 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing and The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide by Paula LaRocque are recommended books to help an incoming college student write a good essay and writing assignments. Classroom learning is not simply listening but understanding the lessons. However, not all lessons understood inside the classroom will be remembered after few days; that is why taking down notes is very important to refresh your mind. Learn how to take good notes by reading, Don’t Be Stupid: A Guide to Learning, Studying and Succeeding in College by Dustin M. Wax and Ron Fry's, Take Notes, 2nd edition.

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    More Recommended Books

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story is about a millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and his affection to Daisy. He fell in love with Daisy when he was in the Army. Later, Daisy got married to Tom. Gatsby used his wealth and power to win the love of Daisy.

    The Ramayana is a shortened modern prose version of the Indian epic by R. K. Narayan. It tells the story of Ramayana in his quest for goodness in this world as he looks for his kidnapped lover, Sita. The story revolves around courtship, love, faith, family ties, and respect for the elders.

    A Tale of Two Cities was authored by Charles Dickens. This novel takes place in Paris and London. The story is about violence, discrimination, and oppression of peasants from aristocrats which developed into a drastic change. It also highlighted the significance of sacrifice for positive transformation to occur.

    The Color Purple by Christopher Hubert. This story talks about Celie, a young black girl whose primary defense mechanism is to keep quiet. Silence and praying in the form of writing is her only way to react to the abuse and cruelty she was experiencing. A great lesson about expressing feelings and friendship that can lead to freedom but may also be risky.

    To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee is about racial discrimination which can hinder justice. Incoming college students will benefit from this book by learning the significance of moral education and by being aware of the existence of inequality.

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