Five books to reference to impress your college friends

Jon Meier, Satire Co-Editor

We all want to be valued for our intelligence. Here are a few book titles to drop into a casual conversation that will make your new friends think you’re well-read and make your old friends think you got really smart over the summer.

1. Catcher in The Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Anyone who attended school in the United States will most likely have read or skimmed through this novel during an English class. But the real question is: Can other students dissect the true meaning of the carousel in the way that you can?

Suggested Use:

“What Salinger is trying to get across is that alienation is both a separating and unifying experience. The ending is meant to be layered.”

2. Notes From Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Russian author with a hard to pronounce name? Yes. Dense passages that require reading over multiple times? Yes. Will your friends ever question your literary prowess? Most definitely not. If you can muscle your way through one passage of this novella you’ll become the de-facto bookworm in your friend group.

Suggested Use:

“What I like about this book is that it emphasizes the recurring themes present in Dostoevsky’s previous works and thus really enables you to enter the author’s psyche.”

3. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

The fact that you read books printed before 1920 in your spare time will probably impress them enough. To really get the message across, talk about the book’s relevance “in today’s social climate.”

Suggested Use:

“The clash between Gregor’s sense of obligation to his family and their expectations from him feels highly relevant to the millennial generation in today’s social climate.”

4. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

This book is 1,225 pages long. It’s one of the longest books ever printed. For added effect, carry a copy with a bookmark towards the end of it and pull it out whenever the conversation begins to get “too dull for your tastes.”

Suggested Use:

“I’m sorry, I just have to find out what happens to Andrei.”

5. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

Referencing this book will solidify your friends’ belief that you love all types of genres. This is the swiss army knife of books to reference because you can talk about the author himself, the story’s craft, or the historical context of the Spanish Civil War.

Suggested Use:

“Hemingway lets his experiences inform his writing, and it’s just so amazing how he can express such powerful emotion through such utilitarian prose.”

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