In time for graduation season, GOOD Books rounds up what to give (and what not to give) a recent college graduate.
GOOD Books is a weekly round-up of what we're reading and what we wish we were reading.
Summer’s here, college is out, and the world now has a brand new batch of 20-somethings armed with nothing but bachelor's degrees and some leftover ramen. When it comes to finding the perfect book to gift a grad, the choices may seem endless, so first, a few tips on what to avoid:
By David Foster Wallace
336 pages. Little, Brown and Company. $25.95
David Foster Wallace’s stories often focus on banality, providing a sobering lesson to the new grad: Adult life can be a drag. Oblivion, a collection of short fiction, provides a more approachable entry into the late author’s work than, say, his unfinished opus The Pale King. Featuring characters like a focus-group facilitator, a husband with a divorce-inducing snoring problem, and a man who poos out highly detailed sculptures, the message gleaned from these stories is this: People are normal and life is sometimes boring, but unpredictable shit still happens. If you’re really lucky, it’ll happen in sculpture form.
The Art of Happiness
By the Dalai Lama
336 pages. Riverhead Books. $23.95
Admittedly this is one of the more new-age-y books you could gift, but you can’t dis the Dalai Lama. When it comes to coping with the post-campus real world, nobody gives greater advice than His Holiness. The book begins with the premise that life is often insufferable (as we all know, adulthood is sad and involves bills and health insurance!), but gives some thoroughly awesome advice on how to end up fulfilled (I’ll eventually have a job! The cheap brand of mac and cheese tastes better anyway!). The Art of Happiness provides straightforward tips on how to enjoy what you’ve got, and how to avoid wanting more. If you need any further proof that this book has helpful happiness tips, just look at the Dalai Lama himself: dude knows what’s up.
Coming of Age
By Studs Terkel
496 pages. The New Press. $16.95
Personal Finance for Dummies
By Eric Tyson
458 Pages. Wiley, John & Sons, Inc. $21.99