Op-ed: 10 books to read in college to celebrate literacy

September is National Literacy month—and these books are higher-ed ‘musts’

books-literacy-college September is National Literacy Month, and just like many other areas of education, the term ‘literacy’ is in flux, incorporating new definitions that both traditional curriculum as well as more progressive courses in higher education have a responsibility to nurture in students.

Though your first thought may turn to digital literacy and the skills associated with online research [and you wouldn’t be wrong!], as social media platforms and the internet shatter geographic boundaries, literacy is also changing to mean having a well-informed perspective on a multitude of topics—a perspective that includes those from diverse cultures as well as traditional Western ideologies.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m an English major coming from a private liberal arts college, so waxing poetic on literacy in the 21st century could take all day. But while digital and technology literacy is essential…there are still books that do a darn good job of helping today’s student become literate; literate in the sense of not only being able to carry on a conversation about global politics, but become knowledgeable enough of society, economics, cultures, and changing world paradigms to perhaps make better life choices.

And making more well-informed life choices—be that through choosing the right career pathway, analyzing student loans, or becoming a more responsible citizen—well, isn’t that what higher education is all about?

So without further ado, and with the preface that these 10 books are A) ones that I personally read in college that blew my hair back; and B) are completely subjective, here are the books I believe every student should read in college.

(Next page: 10 books to read in college)