The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Maddie’s Library: Books you should read in college

Return to the Great Gatsby for Fitzgerald’s dreamy prose. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

I know you’re busy and I know that using your limited free time to turn off your brain and doom-scroll TikTok is enticing. I also know that there are things about my life that I didn’t understand until I read them on the page, through the words of another writer, through the eyes of another character.

Here are a few of the many books that helped me understand my own college experience, and that I hope can do the same for you.

“The Anthropocene Reviewed” by John Green

Sometimes, you need to cry while reading an essay about hot dogs. In this collection of essays, Green, author of young adult favorites like “Paper Towns” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” takes readers by the hand and somehow guides them through everything they might experience as humans, from having an obsession with Diet Dr. Pepper to losing friends to cancer. I’m a better person for having read this book.

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney

Maybe you’ve watched the TV show, or maybe you’re like me and are avoiding the emotional devastation, but “Normal People” is the most heartbreaking and accurate portrayal of watching the people around you grow while you are changing as well. Marianne and Connell are complexly and painfully flawed, and Rooney never shies away from showing this in all its awkward, tearful glory. Read this if you want to know that life will be okay even through all its ebbs and flows.

“The Collected Regrets of Clover” by Mikki Brammer

Have you ever heard the phrase “do it scared?” As in, it’s okay to be scared to try something new, you just have to do it scared. That’s what this book embodies and that’s a lesson that is currently serving me well as I get ready to take the leap into the post-grad world. The book, which follows death doula Clover as she tries to reconnect with the living, is a tearjerker that will remind you that the best things come with a bit of discomfort.

Anxious People” by Frederik Backman

Backman writes people and dialogue unlike any other contemporary author I know. “Anxious People,” my favorite of his books just ahead of the heartrending “A Man Called Ove,” is one of those books that makes you reread sentence after sentence because the words are just so brilliant you need to hear them again. The story follows a group of hostages being held by a bumbling wannabe bank robber at an open house, but Backman somehow takes that absurd premise and imbues it with the beautiful lesson of remembering not to take everything or everyone you meet at face value.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Okay, I had to include one classic. Sue me. If you haven’t read “The Great Gatsby” since English class in your sophomore year of high school, do me a favor and pick it up again. Fitzgerald manages to fill the book with a desperation to be loved and accepted that is so potent it practically spills off the page. This is also my number one recommendation for readers who want to marvel at impressive style — no one constructs a sentence quite like Fitzgerald.

Books and The Lafayette are two of my favorite things in the world. Thank you for reading as this column gave me the privilege of making these worlds collide for the last three years. Find me on Goodreads!

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About the Contributor
Madeline Marriott
Madeline Marriott, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie (she/her) is a senior English major with a Government & Law minor. As the Editor-in-Chief, a Mentor Writing Associate, a Senior Student Contributor for Lafayette Communications, a Communications Intern for the Office of Sustainability, co-founder and Vice President of English Club, and a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette Admissions, no writing happens on campus without her knowing about it. Her Google Calendar would make your head spin. She is a die-hard Swiftie and Phillies fan, a collector of tote bags, a builder of a Hay Day empire, and an avid Goodreads and Letterboxd user. She smokes cigars and uses an old-timey typewriter and notepad in the newsroom.

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