When it comes to college admissions, especially in the world's most renowned universities, the more prepared you are the better. When applying to a top university you will have to have all the odds on your side. So, what's one thing that can really boost your resume and make you stand out? Reading books cannot only show an admission counselor how large your vocabulary is and your level of comprehension, which are all qualities highly valued by the most prestigious educational institutions, but can also be a fun pastime for you?
Since not everyone is given a summer's reading list, it is important to know what universities are looking for. Here you will find books recommended by Harvard University professors and what students accepted into universities such as Harvard, Cambridge and Princeton read.
Now, I have tried to avoid the most obvious choices as much as I can, but I guess when talking about must-read books such things are inevitable since all of them are classics in their own way.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Wilde's only novel is intended as a puzzle to tease conventional minds. It challenges the reader to believe in "art for art's sake". The story itself experiments with the notion of sin as an element of art.
It tells the story of Dorian Gray - an orphaned boy who is an heir of great fortune. One day an artist(Basil Hallward) paints a full-length portrait of him. After seeing the picture Dorian wishes to always remain young and beautiful and instead the picture to grow old and bear all his sins. Somehow his wish comes true. The book explores the relationship between beauty and mortality and is sure to give you additional credit when applying to university.
Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
In a swiss sanatorium, a brilliant psychiatrist encounters a rich young patient. she slowly recovers and after their marriage, they live on the French Riveria. Their life suggests a marvelous existence. However, luck can always run out.
One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
It is a book that contains a valuable lesson. It can teach one about the importance and of friends and family.
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The plot of the story takes place right before the Second World War. The main protagonist, Charles Ryder, studies history at Oxford University, where he meets lord Sebastian Flyte. It is a very famous book worldwide and it is definitely worth it giving it a shot.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin
The pride of high ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct a dance through the social hierarchies of the 19th century. The novel has received a lot of praise over the years and is one of the most cherished love stories in English literature.
Porterhouse Blue - Tom Sharpe
After the master of Porterhouse dies without being able to name a new successor, which happens for the first time in five hundred years, sir Godber Evans is chosen as the new succsser. The novel is as relevant today as it ever was.
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
The novel shows how women, even though elite, intelligent, and educated are still being ignored, oppressed, and have little legal recourse. It is a recommended book by a lot of the most educated university professors worldwide and they know a good book when they see one.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments - Adam Smith
It is the first scientific book and one with a great impact on society back then, that is cherished even now. It shows that our ideas and actions are caused by our very nature as human beings.
No Longer Human - Dazai Osamu
It is a semi-autobiographical novel of a Dazai Osamu's life - life wrapped in tragedy, despair, and self-hatred. Similar to Dazai's other works the novel doesn't portrait a conflict between people but a conflict between emotions.
No Longer Human' is commonly known as Japan's second best-selling novel and the author's best work of literature. It is also a favorite of mine that I would encourage everyone to read.
The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
'The Metamorphosis' is a novella, which follows the story of Gregor Samsa - a salesman who wakes up one night only to find out he has transformed into a giant vermin. He works so hard, he barely even leads a normal life, which eventually dehumanizes him.
We can deduct that the story explores the meaning of life or more likely its absurdity. It touches upon the topics of compassion, self-identity, and human isolation. This is one of Kafka's most distinguishable and renowned pieces of work.
© 2021 Sen Takatsuki