Book Swap 2013: 3 Books to Read in the New Year

As college students, we all know that we have more than enough reading to accomplish. But once in a while, we want to put the dry and boring textbooks to the side and pick up something you can really dive into.

But often we’re at a loss when it comes to reading new books. How are we supposed to know if we’re going to enjoy it or not, based on a tiny blurb on the inside cover? Here we break it down by books you may have enjoyed, followed by similar suggestions to read in the upcoming year.

If you liked Harry Potter…

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

For those of you who haven’t yet noticed, Tolkien’s classic prequel to the renowned Lord of the Rings trilogy, has recently been made into a movie franchise, the first installment of which was released at the end of 2012. The second installment of the movie trilogy is slated to be released in December of this year, so for those of you, like me, who want to get caught up with the events before watching them unfold on the big screen, this book is for you. Featuring all sorts of strange and wonderful lands, mythical creatures, lovable dwarves, and of course, a brave but rather exasperated little Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Mr. Tolkien has been praised and revered for his storytelling abilities, and his rich and wonderful new culture and world he created. The Hobbit is a classic fantasy novel that is getting new life in the form of the epic cinematic adaptation. For fans of fantasy, mythology, action, and adventure, you’d be remiss to pass up the opportunity to live (or re-live) this beautifully crafted novel.

If you liked Perks of Being a Wallflower…

Looking for Alaska, John Green

Fans of Stephen Chbosky’s gritty coming of age story, recently turned into an award winning cinema adaptation, will enjoy this beautiful novel about relationships, adolescence, and growing up. Set in a posh private school, the main character encounters a delightfully quirky band of outsiders at the academy, the kids who don’t come from trust funds and yacht clubs, or those who detest the life of luxury. Miles, nicknamed Pudge by his new friends, becomes enshrouded within the group of mostly harmless misfits, and helps them pull off prank after prank on their unsuspecting classmates. Harboring an interest with people’s last words, and a yearning for the most out of control member of the group, Alaska, he quickly becomes entangled in her mess of a life. Though Alaska goes from manically happy one moment, to depressed and sobbing the next, Pudge can’t help but be attracted to her, as many of the boys in the school are. But Alaska is taken, if not happily so, and his attraction is taboo. This tragic, heartfelt, and often humorous novel will leave you considering your life’s impact, and, for those in the know, seeking the Great Perhaps that Alaska and Pudge so dearly wanted to understand.

If you liked The Hunger Games…

Divergent, Veronica Roth

Those who enjoy reading about a good old fashioned dystopian society will have their hands full with this book, set to be released in cinematic form in 2014. Set in a far off future Chicago world, the society is divided into five different factions (Candor, the honest; Abnegation, the selfless; Dauntless, the brave; Amity, the peaceful; and Erudite, the intelligent). At the age of sixteen, every member of this society must decide where to put their allegiance for the rest of their lives. The book follows the main character, Beatrice, as she makes her surprising and heart wrenching decision, and is forced to live with the physical and psychological torments that the rigorous initiation heralds. But during this all, she must figure out who her allies are, and what a certain mysterious boy really means to her. But she’s got a secret she’s been warned not to tell on pain of death, and as conflict and uprising begin to spread through the dysfunctional society, she begins to understand that her secret may help her protect her loved ones… or could mean her death. Fans of Suzanne Collins vividly imagined dystopian society of Panem will revel in this revolutionary and rebellious series.

Now there’s absolutely no excuse to be under read in 2013, so get to the library (or your Kindle) and get reading!

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Elizabeth Benson

Elizabeth Benson

Elizabeth Benson is a freshman at Central Michigan University, currently pursuing a degree in Journalism. Elizabeth is a member of the CMU Honors Program, and is a staff reporter at Central Michigan Life, the student run campus newspaper. When she’s not in school, she can usually be found reading, writing, or watching movies, and enjoys traveling and performing in plays.
Elizabeth Benson

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