June 21: Read a book to keep your mind sharp

Even as a journalism student, in which by definition I’m supposed to be doing a lot of writing, I would estimate 95 percent of my homework is reading-related. You’ll learn very quickly that teachers expect you to read along with the syllabus. They may not mention a single word from the text in lecture, but in many classes you can guarantee that questions from the readings will show up on midterms and finals.

With the massive amounts of reading you’ll have to do, it’s important to keep your mind sharp during the summer. Reading a book (or two, or three … ) will exercise your brain for all the course materials you’ll be required to absorb during the school year. You wouldn’t run a marathon having not run a mile for three months.

Here are a few books I recommend that make for good summer reads and will also keep the rust off those wheels in your head:

  • “Survivor: A Novel” by Chuck Palahniuk
  • “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck
  • “Bringing down the House” by Ben Mezrich
  • “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins
  • “The Life of Pi” by Yann Martel
  • “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
  • “Freakonomics” by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt
  • “Road Swing” by Steve Rushin
  • “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut