Monday, August 14, 2017

The Top 5 Books Every College Girl Should Read


Hello, beautiful! Once upon a time, I was the girl who vowed she would never, ever, EVER switch to reading e-books. "The pages just feel different," I would say. "I would miss the smell and the feel of a good, old-fashioned paperback."

Well, back in July, I surprised myself - on Prime Day, I sprung for a discounted Kindle (mainly because I thought it would help me solve my problem of never returning library books on time...#oops) and started devouring e-books like cuh-RAZY!

Thanks to my new Kindle, I finally got around to reading a lot of the books that had been sitting on my "To Read" list for ages - which then got me thinking about some of my favorite books of all time, which then leads me to where I am now: sitting on my couch in my dirty yoga clothes writing this blog post. (TMI?)

Some of the books I was excited to share with you today were old favorites, and some of them were books I've recently discovered on my new reading binge. Either way, I guarantee that no matter what walk of life you come from, if you identify as a woman and you're in college, you can benefit from cracking open any one of these books!

And just for the record, no - even though I've said Kindle 3,000 times already, this post was NOT sponsored by Amazon :(

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

If you haven't gotten around to reading Lean In yet - don't worry, I didn't read it until this year either (though it feels like literally everyone else already had) - I can confirm that this book is, in fact, a must-read! Sheryl Sandberg's book is equal parts memoir and feminist treatise on how to survive in a male-dominated, literally every workplace ever, amirite?

But seriously: as the female COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg knows a thing or two about the topics that are important to us millennials. On the list of topics she covers in her book are asking for what you want, work-life balance, being a working mother (and when to have kids in the first place) and enduring dealing with shitty, anti-feminist people in the workplace with dignity.

No matter who you are, how old you are or what your gender is, I guarantee you will learn something new from reading Lean In - for example, that the United States is still the only first-world country not to provide paid family leave. (Yup, you heard me.) Even if you don't know anything about Sheryl or what she does, this book is a valuable workplace how-to for any ladies planning to enter the workforce anytime soon. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

You guys, this book is called "life-changing" for a reason: it truly will change your life, just as it has transformed mine! 

As a naturally messy person whose idea of "tidy" used to mean making semi-stacked piles of objects and clothing on the floor, I never in a million years thought I would pick up a book like this. In case you haven't heard of KonMari (or only know about it from the Gilmore Girls revival series), it's a decluttering technique named after its pioneer, Marie Kondo, a cleaning expert from Japan. In fact, Marie Kondo has helped so many delinquent tidiers clean up their acts that she now has a six-month waiting list for her clientele. (Whatever, sign me up!)

Marie Kondo believes that to truly get tidy - and, more importantly, finally maintain that tidiness - you need to discard the items that no longer serve you and keep only the ones that spark joy. Beyond that, she also believes you should tidy in a certain order following a particular set of instructions, which she outlines in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 

In short, if you think you have any interest whatsoever in getting more organized (which, as a busy college girl who prizes efficiency, you should!) and living a more minimal, I would highly recommend this book. It's basically the ultimate how-to manual to hardcore cleaning for people who've scarcely ever picked up a broom. (In other words, it's basically my autobiography.)

The Girl's Guide by Melissa Kirsch

Basically, if you're a girl and you've ever had a random question before, this book will answer it for you. More importantly, this book will answer all your questions in a way that will make you pee your pants laughing out loud.

The Girl's Guide is essentially the twenty-something woman's guide to figuring out all the nuances of life that a public school education couldn't teach you. For example, how do you end a friendship with a negative person gracefully - or lose five pounds without investing in a mail order fad diet sold by a former reality TV star? 

Goodreads said it best: Melissa Kirsch gives great advice, and she delivers it like a longtime BFF with a raunchy sense of humor. Fair warning: this book is not for the faint of heart - if swearing and/or sex advice offend you, The Girl's Guide probably shouldn't top your reading list - but it is guaranteed to teach you a thing (or twenty-thousand) about life, love and paying off your credit card debt without ruining your entire life - which happens to be my three favorite things to read about!

The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards

If you ever wanted someone to dumb down finance to the point where a complete newbie (i.e. me) could understand it, then this is the book for you! Carl Richards, a well-known financial advisor and New York Times cartoonist, simplifies the concept of having a financial plan - that is, a loose trajectory for your savings goals and paying down your debt - to just one piece of paper. 

Yes, you heard me: with The One-Page Financial Plan, you can essentially learn everything you ever wanted to know about saving for retirement, meeting your financial goals and paying off those pesky student loans with just one blank piece of paper. 

I highly recommend this book to any college students or recent grads who are struggling to make sense of this whole "money" thing, anyone whose financial life needs a reset after one too many shopping sprees (not that this is me or anything...) or anyone who just wants to learn a thing or two about finance from a financial expert without reading a 1,000-page manual full of jargon. (So, basically, it's required reading for pretty much everyone...)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Alright, so this clearly breaks with my theme of self-help-y type books, but as a self-proclaimed literary buff, I just couldn't resist including one of my all-time favorite classics on this list! 

Not only is this book a heartwarming romance and a much-needed warning against judging a book by its cover, but I happen to think it offers some important life lessons we could still benefit from today - for example, I think its vividly humorous characterization of classism still remains relevant in 2017 no matter what part of the world you come from.

I also thought it was important to mention this book to emphasize the importance of reading literary fiction in a time when self-improvement books are all the rage. Under today's educational system, the classics are pretty much dying out - yet studies have proven that reading fiction makes you a kinder, more empathetic person. So, it's our generation's responsibility to keep classics like Pride and Prejudice alive, and show younger generations why they're still relateable and still worth reading.

Okay, rant's over. But one last thing: whether it's a 50-cent paperback or a 500-page masterpiece, I hope I, at the very least, inspired you to pick up a book today! 

Got a great book suggestion? Let me know @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!

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