Best Student Reads For 2020

Looking for a wholesome way to fill in your free time this semester? Check out our list of the best student reads in 2020.

There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a book you just can’t put down.  

Maybe you’ve simply had a long day. Or, maybe your homework has taken its final toll on your brain for the night and you’re ready to unwind. 

Maybe you’re seeking some motivation, inspiration, and direction for your future. Or, maybe you’re feeling lonely and homesick. 

Or maybe, you’re looking for a complete escape into another world that is completely irrelevant to college life. 

Whatever the case may be, in the following article, we have some seriously good reads for you to check out. 

Let’s dive in!

Best Student Reads

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso 

Don’t be fooled by the title, this one’s not just for the ladies. 

Sophia is nothing short of inspirational. She will tell you straight up, when to quit and when you should push for more. She explains how to use your mistakes and learn from them to reach your full potential. 

Honestly, who hasn’t made a mistake in their life? 

We all have, and we all are a little guilty of beating ourselves up over it. She’ll show you how to keep the energy moving to reach your full potential, and thrive. 

This book is gold! 

Freedom By Jonathan Franzen 

Freedom is a story about a less than usual relationship, where the characters first met in college. 

Will they choose their friendship? Or love? How does one decide if a close friendship is worth jeopardizing for love? 

Freedom is a must-read for navigating complicated feelings. 

Image result for freedom by jonathan franzen

Into The Wild By John Krakauer 

There’s a certain perspective nature can give to a person.

Back in 1990, a college graduate, Chris McCandless, burned all of his money, stopped communicating with his peers, changed his name, and hit the western United States looking to escape from his life. 

By 1992, Chris had made it to Alaska and survived off the Alaskan forest for a little over 100 days. 

Trying to find the reasons he disappeared, journalist Jon Krakauer decided to turn Chris McCandless’ story into a book. 

In “Into the Wild,” Krakauer talks about McCandless’ family life, impressive education and his passion for the outdoors. 

This book is particularly interesting because, despite everything a person may achieve in life, one can still find themselves searching for more, or in this case, much less. 

Learn more about the life and death of Chris McCandless here: https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died

Bluets By Maggie Nelson

When you’re feeling like you’ve reached the lowest of lows, check out Bluets. 

Providing inspiration and relatable quotes that truly touch on the fact that you have nowhere to go but up. 

Whatever your low is, it won’t break you. 

Bluets is an essay that will go through triumphs and tribulations with you and remind you where you are at, and what you’re here to accomplish. 

Best Student Reads

Whether you’re feeling homesick or feeling sick to your stomach from a recent break-up, read Bluets and it will forever change your perspective, maybe even your entire life for that matter. 

Sometimes you’ve got to rip the band-aid off and feel bad, to eventually get to where the good is at. Sometimes you have to just go for it. 

In the end, you’ll thank yourself for reading what Maggie Nelson has to say. 

Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body By Roxanne Gay

Let’s talk about body image issues just for a second.  

It’s so easy to feel pressured and get wrapped up into society’s idea of the standards of beauty. 

In a world that often feels like it just doesn’t accept her, Gay goes through ways of taking care of herself and her body and learning to be comfortable in her own skin, in her own lenses, and not what society wants her to be. 

There’s some serious confrontation going on in this book, but I promise, it will resonate with you, especially if you’re a younger student just trying to get through the school year. 

Today, with social media filters & airbrushed models on magazine covers, it can be so difficult not to compare yourself to others, and to actually accept and find beauty within yourself. 

If you seek out what Roxanne Gay has to say in Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, I promise you won’t regret it. 

Image result for The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao By Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao By Junot Diaz

Next on our list of the best student reads, we have a best-selling book by Junot Diaz.

We all know that we can’t erase the past. 

You know, that embarrassing moment you had at last week’s party, which you will be known as “that person” for the remainder of your post-secondary career. 

Regretting you ate an entire pizza to yourself in one sitting. 

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao walks you through his life through his college roommate’s eyes. 

He goes through Oscar’s struggles and triumphs in finding his identity despite how his past has affected him. 

This inspirational novel will have you flipping pages for days. 

The chapters are laid out with purpose and really set the tone for moving through your past, to move forward in your future. 

Catcher In The Rye By J.D. Salinger

The final book on our list of best student reads is a classic that you’ve probably heard of before: Catcher in the Rye.

I think everyone can identify with going through a phase where you’re feeling lonely and maybe even a little under-appreciated and invisible at times. 

These phases tend to happen when going through teenage years or early adulthood. 

Catcher in the Rye is known for making its readers feel heard and understood.  

Salinger has inspired so many young students around the globe with words one can not only just take in, but also relate.  

Image result for catcher in the rye

For many of us, it will take us back to our younger more troubling years and possibly help us make some sense of it, or at least, learn to laugh at ourselves while we’re there. 

Every student should read Catcher in the Rye at least once in their lifetime.  

Best Reads 2020

Whether you’re looking for some inspiration, or just need to escape from the real world for a little bit, our list of the 7 best student reads is sure to have something for everyone to love.


What books have you recently read and would recommend to your peers? What books are on your to-read list?

How To Save Money On Textbooks

Interested in learning how to save money on textbooks next semester? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Investing in yourself for post-secondary education is one of the most financially challenging things we find ourselves doing. It’s a huge leap into the unknown, with enormous expenses around every corner.  

But there’s a bright future ahead, so long as you just get through these next few years.

For many of us, the financial aspect of attending College can put quite a strain on our bank accounts, which ultimately adds to our stress level. 

How To Save Money On Textbooks

 And while some of us choose to work throughout the year, others choose to live off of financing to focus fully on the heavy workload college brings to the table. 

Whatever your case may be, the first few bills that come up at the beginning of the year can be hefty. You’ll find yourself handing your money over to tuition, rent, parking passes, and all in the span of a few days. 

That’s enough to make anyone a little uneasy.

And to make matters worse, textbooks can take up a huge portion of your school budget. 

In fact, the average college student will spend anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 just on textbooks. That’s a substantial expense, so why not try and save money there? 

Below, we go over some tips for buying your textbooks, and saving you money while you’re at it!.  

Avoid The Campus Bookstore 

I can’t stress this one enough. Avoid buying your books from the campus bookstore!

Instead, it’s much more affordable to buy your books online

assorted books on wooden table

There are so many websites that offer textbooks for a fraction of the cost compared to the bookstore. 

The convenient thing about buying your books online is that you can compare prices easily with other websites. You can watch for deals, and get email notifications on price drops. 

Every little bit helps. 

Buying your books online can save you hundreds, and often they will be delivered in just a few days. 

Search for affordable textbooks here: https://textbooknova.com/

Buy Used 

Like anything in life, not everything has to be brand new.  Plus, there are so many benefits to buying used textbooks. 

For one, you’re helping the environment with recycling someone’s old textbooks that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill. 

Second, you’re helping out another student by buying it, while at the same time, saving yourself money. 

The content of the textbook is what you need, does it really matter if some pages are bent?  

A few great websites to search for used textbooks are:

How To Save Money On Textbooks

Check Out E-books 

If you have a laptop and plan on bringing it to class with you every day, you may want to look into e-books. 

You’ll only pay a small price to download the book on your computer, and it’s there forever.  

This could very well be revolutionary in saving money on textbooks!  

That’s not to mention, you’re likely going to be finding yourself pulling late-night study sessions with friends. With e-books, you can bring your textbooks with you, without needing to lug them around in your backpack.

The convenient thing about e-books is you can never misplace them or forget them. Plus, you won’t ever find yourself rummaging through your locker trying to find the right book in between classes. 

Talk about simplifying your life in one easy step.  

All you need to do is grab your laptop and head out the door, with all of your coursework readily available. 

assorted-title of books piled in the shelves

Visit The Library 

Many of the textbooks you’ll find at the library have been donated by students who have either dropped out or graduated and no longer need them. 

Sometimes, the library will purchase various textbooks or books with similar content. So it’s always a good idea to check them out before going out and buying new books. 

Libraries loan books for free. And oftentimes, you’ll only need a particular book for one semester, and then you’ll move on to another. 

So why not borrow one off by using your good, old fashioned library card.  

Rent Your Textbooks 

There are plenty of options for renting out textbooks. 

Again, the easiest way to go about doing this is likely searching online. You may even be able to find ads posted on a bulletin board in the common area at your school.

Most colleges have a student service resource center, ran by students dedicated to helping other students. 

They should be able to point you in the right direction on who is renting out their books or where to look.   

You may even see this as a potential money-making opportunity for yourself when you’re finished with the textbooks you’ve purchased. Renting them out to future students can potentially have your textbooks paying themself off in the long run.  

How To Save Money On Textbooks

Final Tip: Always Compare Prices 

Even the biggest brands put their products and services on sale from time to time.

That’s why it’s important to always shop around and compare prices from different stores/suppliers.

This is the real key on how to save Money On Textbooks. 

Don’t just buy the first books you see!

Shop around online or ask around at school to find out any other ways you can save money on your books.

Just remember, there are plenty of ways to save yourself money throughout the years, and saving on your textbooks is one of them.

My First Love

By Austin Malberg

Editor’s Note: This article is the winning submission to the Textbook Nova 2019 Scholarship.

In the last few leisurely days of August, before the start of my first year of high school, I had a desire to pick up a new book before classes started. I decided on a book based on the outburst of reviews it had received from my peers. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur, was the first poetry book I ever read. I finished it in under an hour and then I read it again that very same day. I fell in love with the way the words danced on the page to create melodies, seemingly crafted for my ears alone. 

I tore out page sixty-two and hung it on my wall, but not before highlighting, 

“what drives you crazy / what keeps you up at night / i tell him i write” (6-8).

I spent more time on this page than I did reading the book to its entirety. I was caught off guard because when I read those lines, I was reminded of a time when I used to feel the same. A time when my heartbeat raced when given the chance to expose myself. When my breathing quicken at the very idea of fashioning my thoughts on a page in order to make sense of them. A time when I was in love with the art of writing. 

I tried to place a finger on when the passion had evaded me, leaving agony in place of adoration. I found myself blaming the classrooms I grew up in. I remembered back to my elementary school years, when I was always proud of that fact that writing was my favorite time of the day. But as I grew, I realized they stripped me of the childish whims that used to inspire me. Where as I grew, it became less and less acceptable to speak my mind and act boldly with my words. I was taught to forget my voice and rely solely on the structure they provided. The classroom stole my passion from me, took away the first thing I loved, and I resented it for that. 

I wish my education would’ve been fueled by the fragments of knowledge I gained from the people I met and allowed me to show how perspectives I encountered had shaped me. I wish I would’ve been told to take risks and learn as I go, instead of being told what my voice should sound like. With every generic five paragraph essay I was asked to complete, I became more frustrated. However, I wrote them because it became about appeasing the teachers and being found traditionally successful. Writing what they wanted to see, in order to get a grade I was satisfied with. 

My frustration lead me to rebel outside the boundaries of typical school writing and I was amazed when the feedback came back positive. It was the first time I realized that my teachers were waiting for me to forget the rules of a five paragraph essay and give them something that shocked them. The five paragraph wouldn’t get me a bad grade, but a creative approach would get me a better one along with eagerness from my teachers for more.  After that, I noticed myself getting excited for papers that were assigned because I was always looking for the next way I was going to leave people with something unexpected. 

With the spark of my new found curiosity,  I took advantage of a creative writing workshop offered at a university and forced myself to write at a time when I was unsure if I could ever love it again. Still however, I did everything in my power to respark my passion. I channeled my grief and heartache and poured it into poetry for the first time. I showcased my interpretation of love and life in stories that I wrote throughout the stretching hours of the night. I took as many risks as possible throughout each essay, no longer letting structure hold me back. I reconstructed the foundation of what writing meant to me. 

Now, as a first year undergraduate student at Hamline University, I currently have around fourteen thousand words of poetry, along with an assortment of short stories, personal narratives, screenplays, and creative essays. I am loading my schedule full of different writing classes with the intention to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing. I am planning to perform at our campus’ monthly poetry slams. I own more books of poetry than what can be found stocked in bookstores. And I finally remembered why I loved it all to begin with. I have never found myself more, than in the times I’ve let my pen hit the page.

Page sixty-two, the ripped out page from Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur, now hangs pinned to my desk in Osborn Hall at Hamline. Every morning, I reglance over the page and am thankful that I came across it so many years ago. I strongly believe that if I never would have read Milk and Honey that I would not be planning to major in creative writing, and maybe wouldn’t even be attending Hamline University. Milk and Honey had the largest impact on my life by giving me back my first love, inspiring me to carry that love with me into my future aspirations. 

I won’t ever be done spilling my words on a page and seeking new experiences that let me share my voice with others. I won’t ever give up on my dream of publication. I want to travel, to let the cultures I’m immersed in bleed into me and shape new perspectives and stories into my work and to let those experiences fuel my writing. I want to be bold with my education by writing for myself, even when others tell me it’s a foolish plan to mold my education around an art. To prove to everyone that asked what my “back-up plan” is, that a “back-up plan” is not necessary for my success. To stick with my passion because my heart and soul fuel my work, to allow myself to expose myself in script.