Seeking advice from current students: What to read this summer?

<p>Hello, all!</p>

<p>I'll be a freshman at Harvard this fall, and I was wondering if any current/recently graduated students have any reading recommendations. My high school had a pretty weak English department, and I feel very unprepared to be a Harvard thinker--are there any must-reads? Novels that most students seem to have tackled? Books that will help prepare me for my freshman year? Even just good, need-to-read classics in general?</p>

<p>Any input is much appreciated! Thanks so much.</p>

<p>Hey!</p>

<p>I'm the same grade as you, but hopefully I can recommend some things that will be helpful...I don't know how much perspective I have, but these are on my list of must-reads.</p>

<p>Read some Shakespeare. Choose two or three from Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. I think those are the most common. They also shouldn't take you that long, because they are meant to be performed in 2-6 hours (Hamlet is the longest, I think), and usually you can read, even read Shakespeare, faster than people talk.</p>

<p>You should probably have read some Dickens...A Tale of Two Cities (not counting A Christmas Carol because it's really short) is the only one I could get through. I really liked one of the main characters.</p>

<p>My personal favorite Great Novel is "All the King's Men." It takes a lot of work and perseverance to get through the first half, but all of the work and effort you put into it Pays Off starting ~Ch. 7 (Ch. 1-3 or 1-4 are work, mostly because you're confused. Ch. 4-6 or 5-6 are where it starts getting enjoyable. Ch. 7 on, in my opinion, is like WOAH I AM SO GLAD I READ THIS.) It's really quite remarkable.</p>

<p>You might also want to ask this question of the Harvard 2014 Facebook group.</p>

<p>I would say there aren't really any books in particular you need to have read. Summer before my freshman year I read quite a bit of fantasy and sci-fi.</p>

<p>I would say just read what you want. Go to a bookstore and browse, read Sunday book reviews, talk to friends and family about good books they have enjoyed recently.</p>

<p>It is impossible to recommend classics because there are so many of them, and also because in an age of diversity, the meaning of "classic" can be debated.</p>

<p>If you want to be more specific (do you want women's novels, British, 19th century, for instance, or novels about politics.... describe whatever your interests are).</p>

<p>But, in general, reading anything is a way to enjoy the summer and keep up your skills.</p>

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I would say just read what you want. Go to a bookstore and browse, read Sunday book reviews, talk to friends and family about good books they have enjoyed recently.

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<p>^This is good advice.</p>

<p>Don't take that other guy's recommendation to read Shakespeare. Shakespeare is meant to be studied, not read casually over the summer.</p>