July 4th has come and gone. The sun falls past the horizon just a tiny bit earlier every evening.
There is the slightest hint of a chill in the soft breeze that dances above your poolside fun and
hints at what every student tries to deny: back-to-school time is here.
No matter how you may feel about approaching autumn days and the inevitable busyness that
comes with it, it can be difficult to go from unstructured days to strict time constraints and abundant assignments. The following list of back-to-school reads will help to ease the transition and set you up for your best school year yet.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Cal Newport’s guide is a must-read for anyone looking to make a meaningful contribution but
feeling stuck on the treadmill of “productivity.” His writing is easy to digest and motivates
readers to take action and employ his principles in their own lives. This book will surely change
the way you think about and interact with schoolwork.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
While Fangirl takes the form of a story about one girl’s place in a fandom, it is, at its core, an
accurate tribute to the experience of college freshman year. It explores the challenges so many
face as they leave home and struggle to establish their identity and independence in an
increasingly unfamiliar setting.
A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
While the protagonist of Wendy Mass’s 2003 novel is only thirteen, everyone can take
something from this beautifully crafted coming-of-age story about a secret that becomes an
identity. When Mia finally reveals to her friends and family that she has synesthesia, she finds
herself navigating isolation and loss in addition to the typical trials of preteen life.
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
If you are an artist, content-creator, or just someone who likes to use the right side of your brain, this book is for you. If you’re like me, you often use the beginning of a school year to set goals for yourself and your creative endeavors. Tharp’s study of creativity will help you to create
systems that harness, rather than restrict, your creativity and skyrocket your artistic potential.
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Actress Anna Kendrick’s literary debut is full of witty observations and hilarious anecdotes that
will keep you laughing this fall, whether you’re going back to school or doing your best to adult.
Kendrick’s voice is charming and relatable, even when the stories move from middle-school life
to film sets.
Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas
If you’re feeling anxious about your student debt, look no further than Ken Ilgunas’s memoir.
The University of Buffalo graduate details the experience of eliminating his debt in a narrative
that pays tribute to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and ultimately exposes Ilgunas’s newly
discovered personal philosophy.
Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini
What begins as a classic story of a typical high school dork, dodging bullies and admiring the
school beauty queen from afar, quickly takes a turn toward science fiction when the main
character decides to take part in the newest fad. Jeremy swallows a tiny supercomputer that
directs his every decision and guarantees to grant his deepest desires, all at the cost of his
autonomy. Pick this one up to see Vizinni’s brilliant dry humor applied to high school culture.
We know you’ll miss summer—we all do— but remember that this fall is charged with potential to improve your life and make progress on your reading list while you’re at it. So take a deep breath, break out your backpack, and load up on these back-to-school books to start September right.