Jackson Headshot_SketchThroughout the school year, you could read anywhere from 15 to 30 books, depending on your major. But how many of those books do you actually get to enjoy? I remember talking to a friend and reminiscing over some of our favorite books. Though some of the books were from college, the majority of them were from high school: a time when the deadlines weren’t as stringent. Reading was designed to be an escape, not a punishment — so when did things go awry?

Personally, I believe that books can offer way more than movies in most circumstances (showing my inner nerd). When I read a book that I thoroughly enjoy, I want to emulate whatever that person did to inspire me — that is how great the effect is. When I read “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I wanted to drop out of high school and travel the world for a year (which is very unrealistic for a plethora of reasons, but hey).

If school has sucked the fun out of reading for you, I challenge you to rediscover the beauty of diving into a good book and escaping to another reality. On the other hand, if you still enjoy leisurely reading, I challenge you to venture out and try reading books that will ask more of you — whether that is learning a new topic or opening a dictionary to gloss over a term every page or so. Being able to read a book of your own choice at your own pace without having to write a 4000-word essay about it will drastically change your feelings about reading — scout’s honor. What a better time to do that than summer? Below, I will list some of my favorite books. If you read these, I hope you get the same enjoyment from them that I received.

Good beach reads:

  • “The Good Luck of Right Now” by Matthew Quick (the author who wrote “Silver Linings Playbook”): This book takes you on a whimsical ride that will manage to keep you laughing until the final word.
  • “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac: The American dream, freedom, jazz, and one man’s search for happiness and individualism.
  • “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert: (My love for this book is endless, obviously.) A story of one woman’s journey for peace, pleasure, and happiness.

Books about culture:

  • “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver: One of my favorite books of all time, the story chronicles a family’s move to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the perspective of the different members of the family.
  • “World on Fire” by Amy Chua (yes, it is the infamous Tiger Mom): Compiled from a study of different conflicts, this book shows how ethnic and sociological clashes effect economic and governmental structures.


  • “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde: Wilde lays it all out on the table in his dark tale about sins, corruption, and immorality.
  • “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier: A mystery ripe enough for Carmen Sandiego.
  • “The Alchemist“ by Paulo Coelho: Inspires you to meaningfully pay attention to the world around you and seek out what your “quest” in life is.


Santana Jackson is a rising junior in the College. Steps To Recovery appears every other Thursday.

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