These Are the Best Books for Each College Major, According to Students (Part 3)

Bio & English & Pre-Law, Oh my!

Once again, I’ve gathered up the best books around for college students to read, in the what little precious spare time we have, based on each college major! I polled students from a variety of majors on their favorites, and here are the results. 

In case you missed them, see The Best Books for Each College Major Part 1, and Part 2.

Read on to see this week’s picks to add to your reading list.

The Best Books, According to Biology Majors:

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 

This book is a best-seller (and Oprah endorsed!) for a reason. It tells the often-ignored story of how inequality, race, and medicine have interacted in our nation’s history. Henrietta Lacks had her DNA, her very essence, taken without her consent or knowledge. For years her story was kept secret until this novel brought the truth to the public’s eye igniting a dialogue about the intersection of ethics and scientific discovery.

2. Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

The title of this pick alone won me over. This book delves into everyone’s favorite powerhouse, the cell, and how it actually determines far more of our lives and our choices than you could ever imagine.

Honorable Mention: This is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society by Kathleen McAuliffe

The Best Books, According to English Majors (Poetry):

Because English is such a broad major encompassing various literary works, I am focusing on poetry books alone for this week’s recommendations. Check back soon for our next installment, featuring more English Major picks!

1. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine 

This is a follow up to Claudia Ranine’s first and equally as evocative work Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. It is a commentary on race relations that is as poignant as it relevant and it is a must-read for anyone with a love of language.

2. [insert] boy by Danez Smith 

Danez Smith is an accomplished spoken word poet whose videos have hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube. This is their first published work and is perfect for any fan of spoken word or slam poetry.

Honorable Mention: the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

The Best Books, According to Engineering Majors:

1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. 

By now, everyone should know about this book. Highlighting the brilliant work of Black women in STEM and the vital role they played in our nation’s race to space, the book that inspired the critically-acclaimed movie is a must-read for anyone who, like the protagonists of the book and film, is determined to reach for the stars.

2. To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design by Henry Petroski 

On a slightly different topic, this book talks about the vital role that failure plays in some of mankind’s greatest engineering achievements. This book is all the more important because failure can be such a taboo topic in academia… despite the fact that it often produces our greatest accomplishments.

Honorable Mention: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

The Best Books, According to Pre-Law Majors:

1. The Supremes’ Greatest Hits, 2nd Revised & Updated Edition: The 44 Supreme Court Cases That Most Directly Affect Your Life by Michael G. Trachtman 

This pick may be my nerdiest of all my suggestions so far. It is literally an encyclopedia of the most consequential judicial decisions in our nation’s history, now updated through 2015. This is at the top of my winter reading list because it’s an incredible resource and so many of these cases are often referenced in college courses.

2. Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman 

Featuring two of my most beloved “she-roes,” this book is a deeply personal and beautiful look into the intertwining lives of Ginsburg and O’Connor. It is a tale of the law and of sisterhood and of how vitally important it is to have a diverse array of perspectives fighting for our rights at every level of government, now more than ever.

Honorable Mention: A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student by Paula Franzese (This book is written by one of my professors who’s an alum of my school! She is the reason why I say I am going to be a lawyer rather than just saying I want to be one.)

What do you think?

Keep an eye out for the next installment! What are you currently reading for class (or for fun) that you can’t put down no matter how hard you try? I’m always looking for my next favorite read so as always, let me know in the comments below!

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