For most college students constantly absorbed in textbooks and research, it’s easy to forget that reading can actually be an enjoyable, stress-free experience. So, with the semester at an end and spring in the air, it’s the perfect time to relax in the grass – or your bed – with a book.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass is considered one of the greatest poetry books in American history. Perfect for reading in short spurts between classes and meals, this book of 12 poems focuses on the beauty of the natural world. Whitman was a transcendentalist, and his appreciation of nature and emotion will brighten anyone’s spirit after a long, cold winter.
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
This New York Times Book Review Book of the Year consists of 12 short stories by Moore, one of the most celebrated authors of modern times. Her stories create elaborate portraits of a variety of characters: from an impoverished ex-actress to a shy librarian, with anyone in between. The Goodreads review says, “In what may be her most stunning book yet, Lorrie Moore explores the personal and the universal, the idiosyncratic and the mundane, with all the wit, brio and verve that made her one of the best storytellers of our time.”
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
Forster’s novel, first published in 1908, focuses on a woman’s journey as a series of chance encounters on a trip to Italy cause her to question her future. When two men court her, one English and one Italian, she is torn between the strict Edwardian society in England and the passionate life she finds in Italy. She makes a series of choices between social acceptance and daring love that still resonates with readers today.
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams
Williams’s first novel focuses on the decaying life of an aging American widow struggling to find purpose after her husband’s death. The author wittily narrates her aimless time in Rome as she slowly drifts into a relationship with a cruel male escort. According to Gore Vidal, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone is “splendidly written, precise, short, complete and fine,” – perfect for a college student on the run.
The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares
Brashares, famous for her series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, wrote this novel as a nostalgic testament to summer. It follows two sisters at their summer home year after year until their early twenties, and examines the various personal developments they undergo as they come of age on the beaches of Fire Island, N.Y. They have opposing personalities and react to similar circumstances in different ways, making this book relatable to any reader. She incorporates an old friend, Paul, adding a romantic love to their decades of sisterhood, and giving readers a chance to explore the various forms love can take.