8 Novels That’ll Take You Back to School

    Fix your college cravings with these humorous, poignant, and satiric stories about campus life.

    It’s that time of year again. The humidity’s dropping, the leaves are changing, and hordes of academia-chasing millennials are invading college campuses from Cal U to Columbia. There's no better time to hit the books. 

    Please see your syllabus below; it’s full of the best contemporary campus-set novels that just may take you back to that animal house you call your alma mater. Toga parties and all.


    The Boo

    By Pat Conroy

    Ever wondered what it’s like to study in a military academy? Now’s your chance to find out! The Citadel is a cadet school where physical excellence is valued above all, and weakness is ridiculed.  Lt. Colonel “The Boo” Courvoisie has a lousy mouth and isn’t beyond severely punishing his cadets. Yet his uncompromising character and fatherly advice inspire his students to survive the brutal academy conditions.

    This edition also includes a glossary of military terms. So you can impress your friends with post-WWII military slang.

    The Campus Trilogy

    By David Lodge

    You know you’re in for a fun read when a flamboyant professor from California and a money-hungry professor from Britain swap places for a year during the turbulent sixties. Culture shock, snobbery, academic intrigues, this witty and satirical novel delivers everything you’d expect it to, and then more.

    The Campus Trilogy

    By David Lodge

    The Art of Fielding

    By Chad Harbach

    Imagine being told you are destined for greatness. Then as you’re about to seize success, you drop the ball. That’s what happened to Henry, a star baseball player in a Midwestern liberal arts college, when one throw nearly ended his career. Follow his quest for regaining confidence in this coming-of-age story of ambition, discovery, and commitment.

    The Art of Fielding

    By Chad Harbach

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    Moo

    By Jane Smiley

    Nothing makes you appreciate your alma mater more than a situational irony about a remote agricultural college, complete with a murderous departmental head, an assistant-provost who knows where the bodies are buried, and a professor who advocates eavesdropping for his creative writing assignments.

    I Am Charlotte Simmons

    By Tom Wolfe

    Bully jocks and privileged elite? Underage drinking and horny hedons? A small group of “intellectuals” with hyper-inflated egos? This top-tier university has them all. Add a sheltered Southern girl on a full scholarship and witness a volcano erupt in this gritty novel that was born from Wolfe’s interviews with actual college students.

    I Am Charlotte Simmons

    By Tom Wolfe

    Joe College

    By Tom Perrotta

    Meet Danny, a Yale junior from a working-class New Jersey family. He enjoys beer, weird food, and dodging responsibility. He knows when he’s doing something wrong, but he does it anyway. Ride the college waves with Danny as he navigates college life and interacts with characters who make that weird dude in English Lit look like a saint.

    Joe College

    By Tom Perrotta

    The Paper Chase

    By John Jay Osborn

    A Harvard law student is trying to achieve two seemingly contradictory goals: a) be on the good side of his McGonaggalesque professor, and b) date his willful daughter. Bonus trivia: This novel has been adapted into a critically acclaimed movie of the same name.

    The Paper Chase

    By John Jay Osborn

    Mathematicians in Love

    By Rudy Rucker

    What do you do if your boss is a mad scientist and you’re stuck working ungodly hours with your love interest? You travel to parallel universes, befriend jellyfish deities, win the love of your life, and save Earth from alien mathletes along the way.

    Mathematicians in Love

    By Rudy Rucker

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    Featured Photo: Pixabay 

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