The Best Novels for University Students

Whether you’ve received a hefty reading list for your English Literature course, are in search of an insightful look into the human condition that can bulk up your conversation in seminars, or are just looking for a light read before the real work begins, here are the top novels you should poke your nose into this September:

1984 by George Orwell

A piece of literary political fiction in a dystopian setting that everyone has claimed to have read (or actually have). Many courses will mention it, many lecturers will refer to it, and its themes are easily applicable to the modern world.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The first book one will think of when you mention ‘The Gothic’ or Romanticism. Shelley’s mind is a whirlwind of dark images, philosophy, and provides endless thought for you to delve into. The book goes well with a side of films, namely I, Frankenstein and Hotel Transylvania. Frankenstein’s monster will also provide a great source of comparison when watching students walking up Forum Hill on a Thursday morning.

In Death Series by JD Robb

Everyone needs some light, fast fiction. My source of a mental break takes the form of crime thriller novels for the masses. If you’re in search of a quick read with copious amounts of violence and witty repartee, this is the series for you. It is repetitive, but enjoyable.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Not a novel as much as an essay, but definitely a worthwhile mention. Figurative and thoughtful, the essay dips into an important topic of conflict: a woman’s role in the workplace and in life. The essay will not only give you something to think about, but something to talk about on a night out at the pub when the conversation has turned towards politics and philosophy.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

As you’re about to embark on an odyssey of your own, read Ward’s novel of an epic journey set in the twenty-first century. The novel addresses William Faulkner’s immortal truths of love and honour, pity and pride, compassion and sacrifice. A truly beautiful read that provides great food for thought.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Another fantastic crime novel about the true story of Lizzie Borden, who was arrested and tried for the hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden in 1892, and was subsequently acquitted. The case continues to inspire writers and crime enthusiast. Schmidt’s novel makes for a thrilling read into the mind of those involved.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Another novel of a journey that has inspired millions and influenced an enormous following. Philosophy, spirituality, and metaphors in all forms make up a great amount of university conversation and studying. The story is also a beautiful tale of adventure that anyone can enjoy.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, you will have most certainly heard about. Any TV series or film based on a book, should have the book be read. Varying slightly from the series, Martin’s series of A Song of Ice and Fire, brings in-depth views into the characters’ consciousness in a modern epic fantasy novel.


– Emily Stephenson


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s