good college fiction

<p>I'm looking for good, fun fiction (or non fiction I guess) about college life/memoirs. I'm familiar with "I Am Charlotte Simmons" (interesting at first, but got tiresome), "Smashed" (got really tiresome) and "Prep" (not about college, but similar). Any suggestions?</p>

<p>"Marjorie Morningstar" by Herman Wouk, if you're a girl (or maybe even not). A very underrated novel, imo.</p>

<p>Charlotte Simmons depressed me. My d wanted to read it after I finished...I told her not to bother.</p>

<p>Yes, Charlotte Simmons was terrible! (Sorry to derail the thread but it was really awful.)</p>

<p>I re- read TamLin by Pamela Dean every so often ( reworking of the scottish ballad)
I also like a Secret History by Donna Tartt ( psychological thriller set at a thinly disguised Bennington)</p>

<p>If you are not looking at students, but at faculty, there are some entertaining stories:</p>

<p>Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jum
David Lodge, Trading Places
Ibid., Small World
Ibid., Nice Work
Rona Jaffe, Class Reunion
Mary McCarthy, The Group
Alison Lurie, Foreign Affairs</p>

<p>If you want a weepie, then, of course, there's Love Story.</p>

<p>Freshman by Michael Gerber is a great funny (satirical) novel about a high school student who gets into the nation's top school, only to have his space "bought" by the son of the gubernatorial candidate for his state. It's really funny and makes fun of all aspects of college life (fraternities, secret societies, and school newspapers especially).</p>

<p>A few more:</p>

<p>A.S. Byatt, Possession (faculty, high-brow junk)
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (Oxford)
Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night (women at Oxford, non-murder mystery)
Iain Pears, An Instance Of The Fingerpost (Oxford, 1663, murder mystery)
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights) (a young teenager at an alternate-reality Oxford)
Philip Roth, The Human Stain (also faculty, set at thinly disguised Williams)
Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer (my favorite Roth, immediately post-college)
Owen Johnson, Stover At Yale
Mario Vargas Llosa, Aunt Julia And The Scriptwriter (San Marcos, Peru; very funny demi-autobiographical novel)
Mario Vargas Llosa, Conversation In "The Cathedral" (also San Marcos, very serious, student Marxists in Peru in the early 60s)
Alfredo Bryce Echenique, La vida exagerada de Martin Saldana (hilarious student romance in Peru and then Paris, mai 1968; deserves translation!)
Gustave Flaubert, Sentimental Education (Sorbonne, Paris 1848)
Rabelais, Gargantua & Pantagruel, Book II (Pantagruel goes to Paris to be educated)</p>

<p>Donna Tartt's thinly disguised Bennington (her alma mater) students who commit a murder and cover it up yarn is quite good.<br>
"The Secret History."</p>

<p>There is a funny article in this summer's Atlantic Monthly Fiction Issue that gave me a few chuckles. Books about English Teachers and their Personal Lives often involving Adultery/Tenure or lack thereof and/or affairs with a student was the theme. Saul Bellow wrote a couple good ones. There was a long list I enjoyed perusing. I hate TV shows about TV shows and it is also tiresome reading about English teachers and their struggles with publishing or tenure as the theme for a novel.</p>

<p>Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety is a very good book about marriage but alas it is also about English teachers and their tenure problems. Not up to his Angle of Repose.</p>

<p>Someone I adore is Richard Russo who teaches at Colby and writes wonderful novels. His fiction short story in this Atlantic was..uhh. About a Literature teacher grading papers, her teaching mentors, colleagues and her marriage. But I love Richard so I read every word.</p>

<p>Some books set at Yale:</p>

<p>Owen Johnson, Stover at Yale (a classic about turn of the century Yale)
Natalie Krinsky, Chloe Does Yale (college version of Sex and the City)
Hugh Kennedy, Everything Looks Impressive
Tom Perrotta, Joe College (by the guy who wrote Election and the Wishbones)
Stephen Kiesling, The Shell Game (nonfiction about Yale crew that reads like a novel)</p>

<p>F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise is a wonderful novel about a group of Princetonians.</p>

<p>I'm not a fan, but J.P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man, set at Trinity College, Dublin is considered a classic.</p>

<p>Jhumpa Lahiri, "The Namesake". A novel about birth, life, College and beyond. I enjoyed it, and it won the Pullitzer Prize.</p>

<p>Richard Russo also has a novel about college (really wonderful one) called "Straight Man."</p>

<p>One of my all time favorite college novels is Jane Smiley's "Moo."</p>

<p>
[quote]
One of my all time favorite college novels is Jane Smiley's "Moo."

[/quote]
Is that the one about cow-tipping at a rural LAC?</p>

<p>No cows were tipped in the making of this novel.</p>

<p>I really liked "Moo", too (Ag School at Iowa State), and a lot of the other books mentioned here -- "The Group", "The Secret History", "Foreign Affairs", "Lucky Jim". "What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died ? . . . " Sigh.</p>

<p>Two others that I thought of last night:</p>

<p>Yukio Mishima, Spring Snow (first love in 1920s Japan)</p>

<p>Theodore I. Rubin, Coming Out</p>

<p>I would be especially interested if anyone reads, or has read, the second. It's a 60s college-romance epistolary novel by a psychiatrist who wrote much more famous novels about autistic children (Jordi, Lisa & David). It's all about mind-blowing sex, and how mind-blowing sex is (referred to, realistically, as "****ing"). I read it when I was in high school -- on my mother's recommendation, she liked it so much she would have assigned it to her high school philosophy class were it not for the bad language -- and it scarred me for life -- never felt like I measured up, so to speak. But I haven't set eyes on a copy for 35 years, probably.</p>

<p>
[quote]
"What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died ? . . . " Sigh.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Well, I know a then grad student, now Ivy League prof (male) who said he cried when reading the book. Sniff, sniff... What can you say about a classics prof who wrote such schmaltz?</p>

<p>I cried when I read that book. I think everyone did.</p>

<p>I remember a great New York Magazine competition (when they had great competitions in New York Magazine), to give the first sentence of a really bad novel. One of the winners was "What can you say about a 116-year-old hunchbacked, royalist dwarf who died?"</p>

<p>
[quote]
to give the first sentence of a really bad novel

[/quote]
Entering the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has been on my to-do list for a long time. I really must make time for it one day.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I especially loved this one:
[quote]
It was a day, like any other day, in that Linus got up, faced the sunrise, used his inhaler, applied that special cream between his toes, wrote a quick note and put it in a bottle, and wished he'd been stranded on the island with something other than 40 cases each of inhalers, decorative bottles, and special toe cream.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I just remembered who gave us "Love Story". It was Warren Bennis, not yet a best-selling Leadership guru, just a hotshot young sociology professor at SUNY Buffalo, and a friend of the family. He read it right when it came out (tipped by someone at Harvard) and immediately bought 20 copies for friends. He just gushed all over it. It was fresh, and unknown, and great.</p>

<p>A couple of years ago, my daughter read it, and she just heaped scorn on me for ever having enjoyed such cliched crap.</p>

<p>JHS: Ah, but did she get to meet the model for the male character--what's his name--ah, Al Gore? There's a laundromat in Cambridge that has a sign on its window "featured in the move Love Story." </p>

<p>Driver: I don't think of that opening line as bad. It's certainly catchy and not in the same league as "It was a dark and stormy night." Hands up, how many of you read The Last Days of Pompeii? I think the opening line of Love Story is on par with "Last night I dreamt I was in Manderley again." I never could see why that line was so famous but the cadences of the English language still elude me.</p>