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College Resources

Unassigned Reading

Do you have a modicum of free time on your hands? Are you looking to take a break from your school work for a bit? If the answer is yes, why not consider picking up a book or magazine or perusing a news site? And if you’re having trouble honing in on a good option, consider the suggestions below. We’re confident we have something to wet your literary appetite!?


The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World (A.J. Jacobs) - This bestselling book from Esquire editor A.J. Jacobs chronicles his attempt to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (yes we’re talking all of volume “A” through volume “Z”). It’s a fascinating story about wisdom, neuroses and the quest for knowledge. And it’s peppered with tidbits from a variety of strange and interesting encyclopedia entries.


Birds of America: Stories (Lorrie Moore) - Lorrie Moore is one of the finest writers working today. Her stunning short story collection, Birds of America, features a cast of characters who are all seemingly lost and yearning for connection. Readers are introduced to a mother-daughter duo who travel to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone, a woman mourning the death of her cat and a washed-up actress who has reluctantly returned home to Chicago, among others. Written with equal parts of humor and pathos, this book is sure to move even the most stoic reader.


Netherland (Joseph O’Neill) - When his wife and son return to London, Hans van den Broek is left to navigate ex-pat life in New York alone. Fortunately, he happens upon a vibrant subculture, one that revolves around the game of cricket. This allows him to slowly build a bridge between his past and his newly adopted country. Ultimately, Joseph O’Neill’s compelling novel is a beautiful portrait of New York’s others - immigrants and dreamers of every nationality and race.


The Awl - A fun and fascinating website, The Awl is the perfect site to peruse if you don’t have a lot of time for pleasure reading. You can find articles on a variety of topics, from reviews of television shows to pieces about the science of shivering and even articles about the origins of sarcasm. We assure you - this site has something for everyone!


Be More Chill (Ned Vizzini) - Be More Chill introduces readers to Jeremy Heere, your stereotypical high school nerd. He suffers small indignities on a daily basis, all while he pines for the beautiful Christine. Initially resigned to his lot, Jeremy eventually learns about “the squip,” a pill-sized computer that’s guaranteed to bring users whatever they want in life. It’s even powerful enough to transform Jeremy from geek to chic. This irreverent novel from Ned Vizzini is sure to strike a chord with anyone who understands the pangs of high school.


Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Sarah Ruhl) - Sarah Ruhl’s insightful, comedic play begins with a middle-aged woman named Jean sitting alone in a cafe. The cell phone of the man sitting next to her begins to ring incessantly. As you might have inferred from the title, he’s unable to answer due to being deceased. Jean takes it upon herself to take the call and suddenly inserts herself into the dead man’s life. In the end, Ruhl’s play is about how cell phones possess the unique power to both connect and isolate us.


Fever Pitch (Nick Hornby) - Nick Hornby has been obsessed with soccer since he was in the womb. In this hilarious memoir, Hornby writes about the agony and ecstasy of fandom, the community built around a beloved team and how one makes it through a losing season.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs) - In this remarkable novel, 16 year-old Jacob travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales. There he comes across the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. He slowly begins to realize that the children quarantined there might not have just been peculiar; they were also quite possibly dangerous. And there’s reason to believe they could still be alive. Ingeniously mixing fiction and photography, this book is a guaranteed page turner!

Happy reading!


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Don Munce