Have you ever read a book that made a huge impact on your life? There are so many books that leave you with important messages! Here is just a shortlist of books that I believe every girl should read in college because they give inspirational messages that you can carry with you throughout life.
1. Pride and Prejudice
If you haven’t read this book, I highly suggest it! A classic Jane Austen novel that focuses on Elizabeth Bennet, an outspoken character that was created in a time when women were expected to be more reserved. This novel uses themes of comedy, emotions, and romance to convey a female perspective from the 1800s. This classic is still relevant today with its depiction of smart, strong female characters and the harsh realities of what was expected of them in the early 1800s. This is a must-read for any young female as they can see themselves in Elizabeth Bennet and her witty remarks! I also highly recommend the 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptation when you finish the book- it is iconic!
2. Normal People
A recent publication from Sally Rooney, Normal People focuses on two young adults from Ireland, Marienne and Connell. These characters’ stories overlap between their high school and college life, going back and forth with the memories they share. This book is both frustrating and beautiful. It portrays harsh realities and upsetting aspects of life that the main characters deal with. This novel focuses on a romantic relationship but gives enough insight to the main characters to understand their personal struggles inside and out of the relationship. It is an emotional book that might leave you with a WTF moment, but it is a well-written portrayal of life. I recommend it for being more mundane rather than plot-driven and really emphasizes the importance of treating people kindly.
3. Perks of Being a Wallflower
Another emotionally heavy novel, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is an inspiring representation of feeling like an outcast. One of the most famous quotes from the novel is “we accept the love we think we deserve.” This is told by our main character Charlie, who struggles with trauma and is unsure how to fit in during his first year of high school. This is an important book for anyone, and the emphasis on being misunderstood or feeling like an outsider can be relatable at any stage. I think the moral of knowing you are not alone and never settling is a critical message. As we see Charlie with his friends, but also leaning on his teacher for guidance. Overall, this novel is a staple for everyone’s bookshelf and makes you appreciate the small things and the importance of friendship.
4. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty
TW: Abuse and Harassment
Written by Florence Given, a London-based artist, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is a great book for understanding and appreciating your worth. This book focuses on body image, self-esteem, dating, and sex. Given approaches these subjects with an emphasis on female empowerment and getting rid of a toxic narrative of expectations for women. This is an important book to read at a young age and learn about valuing your time, body, and mindset! It is a reminder of the power females have and the importance of fighting back on societal standards. This novel is great for learning how important you are, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. You will definitely learn a lot about yourself and it leaves you with a more empowering and analytical viewpoint of past relationships (and friendships!)
If you are looking for a female-empowering fiction book, Circe by Madeline Miller is a must-read. This novel focuses on the Greek Goddess Circe and the many challenges she deals with until she becomes a powerful goddess on her own. Circe puts up with the emotional and physical abuse of family as well as the other gods/goddesses. It is a beautiful story that spans hundreds of years but proves the ability to overcome and truly find yourself. Circe’s character is strong but also complex when dealing with her emotions. She develops a sense of humanity that allows the reader to empathize with Circe and understand her character. You don’t need to have a strong understanding of Greek Mythology to let this story resonate with you! Circe’s character is inspiring and her story is just as beautiful as the character.
6. The Midnight Library
This novel by Matthew Haig is the definition of “What if?” If you consider all the decisions you made in your life and wonder if you made a different choice, what would happen? This novel takes these questions and our main character Nora Seed endures the multiple outcomes of her life decisions in a state between life and death. It is an emotional novel that plays with the idea of doing things differently but questioning if the outcome is worth it. The novel is beautifully written as we watch Nora travel to different books of her own life and ponder this idea. I recommend this book if you are wishing you had done things differently, it gives a more optimistic view on the idea of not having it all and appreciating what you do have.
7. You Are A Badass
This is such a fun alternative to your typical self-help book. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero tackles the self-doubting thoughts and gives you alternative methods to be your best self! No one says you need to have it all figured out in college, but this is a great novel to help you reprioritize and make sure you are truly thriving. This book emphasizes the importance of not caring what people think and focus on yourself! During college, it can be intimidating but this book gives you exercises to practice truly believing in yourself. It is definitely a motivational book which can be extra useful during college!